1989 Dec 10 – 2nd Sun of Advent (Bulletin Letters)
Is 11, 1 – 10
Mt 3, 1- 12
The above drawing by Fritz Eichenberg is called the “Peaceable Kingdom”. It gets its inspiration from today’s first reading from the Prophet Isaiah. This is the second week in a row that we have had poetic text from Isaiah describing the Reign of God. Last week we read Isaiah’s version of God’s dream for international peace, a dream where upon the highest of mountains, the city of Jerusalem and God ‘s temple rest. All the peoples and nations of the world flock to this mountain to be instructed by God in the ways of peace.
This week Isaiah describes the Reign of God in terms of a restored Garden of Eden. In this Garden upon God’s mountain the wolf is guest of the Lamb. The leopard lies side by side with the kid. Calf and lion take their lead from a little child. The cow and bear are neighbors. Their young rest together. The lion eats hay like the ox and babies are safe in cobra’s dens. . A child can pet a poisonous snake without danger. It is a garden where natural enemies in the animal kingdom are at peace. A peaceable kingdom where God says, “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord.” Isaiah 11/7
These visionary texts are so appropriate for the Advent season. Advent is the season of anticipation. The whole Christian world is awaiting the celebration of the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace. It was for this moment that Isaiah’s poetic texts were written. In Christ, God’s dreams are completely fulfilled.
In this weeks Gospel from Matthew another powerful Advent character is introduced, John the Baptist. John is the ‘herald’s voice in the desert’ that Isaiah wrote about and Matthew borrows in- today’s text preparing the “way of the Lord”. John’s Advent message is one of repentance and reform. The Baptist tells us there is a judgment coming with the coming of the Lord. We must be ready. The only way to be ready is to own up to our ungodly ways and reform! John tells the Pharisees and the Sadducees that their birthrights and honored positions are not enough. John is clear, there must be a radical-personal conversion and reform or like the chaff gathered at harvest the unrepentant soul will ‘burn in unquenchable fire’.
Two good lessons for this Advent Season. Visions of world peace, a peaceable kingdom, help keep alive God’s dream of peace and our commitment to bring that peace into our troubled world. John’s forceful message of repentance and reform reminds us all, that each one of us has to look into our souls to prepare a space to the coming of the Lord. Without a personal conversion the coming of the Christ will be a judgment on our lives.
89 12 10 Pastorial: CONGRATULATIONS CONFIRMATION CLASS: A good pat on the back and a message of job well done for our confirmation candidates. Our candidates are: Shane Diggins, Laura Espenmiller, Michelle Fliehe, Amy Hansen, Maria Lovell, Chris Myer, Mindy Plummer, Kristina Roberts, Michael Schumacher, Danyel Ligler, Emilee Reyes, Heather DeBolt, Jamie Kirlin, Amy Stolz and Kelly Woodward. A special thank you to Sr. Therese for leading these Confirmation candidates through the program, and of course thanks to Bishop Bu1lock for making our Confirmation celebration complete.
A MESSAGE FROM FR. JIM: The following letter from Fr. Jim Kiernan appeared in St. Pat’s bulletin in Missouri Valley last week. It speaks for itself:
Remember the years of prayers for the conversion of Russia that we Catholics did at the end of Mass? And how many rosaries were said by families and retirees for that intention? Is it not now coming true? One newscaster said that 20 churches per week were being opened in Russia but we need a conversion in America, and maybe prayers and rosaries for our country. We cannot continue to lay the growing burden of this national debt on our descendants. We cannot continue with a minimum wage that is unjust. We cannot continue to be the only country in the western world with huge numbers of homeless people. Our abortions are horrendous. In this free country, it’s all of us, the heart of the nation that decides how things are. Only in totalitarian countries can one blame the government or the military or the party. It’s a wonderful, historic time to be around, to be an American. We ought to thank God for both.