1990 Dec 16 – 3rd Sun Advent (Bulletin Letters)

1990 Dec 16 – 3rd Sun Advent (Bulletin Letters)

3rd Sun of Advent – Cycle B

Jn 1, 6 – 8. 19 – 28

In this week’s Gospel, John the Baptist is featured again. It is the second consecutive week that he speaks of the One who is to follow him, the One whose way the Baptist was sent to clear. This week’s version comes from the gospel of John.  Clearly the lectionary people want us to be on the lookout for the coming of Jesus. But, how will we recognize Him when He comes?  This week’s First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah and our Responsorial Psalm taken from the Gospel of Luke’ s “Canticle of Mary,” gives us some powerful identifying characteristics by which to recognize the Christ. These two tests paint a portrait of a Messiah who picks the side of the poor and the oppressed and sets out to liberate them.  Yet, what is good news for the poor and the oppressed is discomforting and challenging news for the rich and the powerful.

While it is true that the salvation won by Jesus is meant for all people – rich and poor alike – it is also true that Jesus’ message, and His way of life, was both a great comfort to the down and out; and a great discomfort and challenge to the well off. With Christmas just a few days away we might ask ourselves if we, too, are looking the same direction as the Prophet Isaiah and the Blessed Virgin Mary would have us be looking for the coming of the Lord? Are we willing to embrace the same bias for the poor and the op-pressed as Jesus did? For me, Jesus’ good news for the poor has always been a comforting and discomforting message by which to 1ive. It is a critical challenge in the life of any believer that tends to separate those of good faith from those of bad faith (as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats – Matt. 25).


Pastorial Writings

90 12 16


There will be a second collection at all the Christmas Masses this year for St. Anthony’s Shelter in Omaha. This will be the sixth year that we have had a second collection for a Catholic Worker community at Christmas time. St. Anthony’s Shelter is a transitional shelter for homeless men. The men are invited to stay an extended time with opportunities for work to save money and to eventually get a place of their own. Rick Koeppen, the founder of the shelter will be here next weekend to share with us at all the Masses. He will update us on what the shelter is doing and some of their pressing needs. I know you will be generous with your giving this year as you have in the past. Remember to hold back a few of your Christmas dollars for this truly deserving effort.


I have been invited teach a course on, “Alternative Futures” for Buena Vista College at Iowa Western. The classes will meet Monday and Wednesday evenings during January and February. I am excited and apprehensive about taking on this responsibility. I am excited because it gives me an opportunity to explore in depth, with non-traditional students our mutual worldviews and our hopes and fears for the future. I am apprehensive because I have never done anything like this before, and it will demand a good share of my energy. Luckily, it will only be for two months. I’ve always enjoyed past opportunities to be a visiting speaker in a classroom.  Now I will discover how I handle being the main instructor for an entire term.  It’s one thing to entertain and challenge a class for a couple of hours. It ‘s something entirely different leading a class for sixteen sessions, keeping their interest, giving them sufficient and meaningful material and challenging them to think! I suspect I will learn much more from this experience than any of my students. I will keep you posted on how I’m doing.



Plans are in the works for a Feast of the Holy Innocents witness in Omaha this year surrounding the U.S. military build-up in the Middle East. I will probably be participating in a low risk civil disobedience effort on Friday, Dec. 28th. By ‘low risk’, I mean an effort that will not likely result in my having to do any extended jail time. It will be very much like many other efforts that I have participated in over the last five and a half years. The possibility of war in the Middle East is far too real.  President Bush ‘s blatant military threats are far too bellicose for me to remain silent and inactive. I know I join many others throughout the nation who feel similarly called to witness publicly and non-violently, against our nation’s military buildup in the Middle East. I wi11 keep you informed of any further details. Let us all continue to pray for peace in the Middle East




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