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Advent: December 4th

Second Sunday of Advent


December 04, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)



Second Sunday of Advent: Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heaven wisdom grain us admittance to his company. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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“As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man.

“And it is today, in the present, that we decide our future destiny. It is with our concrete everyday behavior in this life that we determine our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity.

“Through the Gospel John the Baptist continues to speak down the centuries to each generation. His hard clear words bring health to us, the men and women of this day in which even the experience and perception of Christmas often, unfortunately, reflects materialist attitudes. The 'voice' of the great prophet asks us to prepare the way for the coming Lord in the deserts of today, internal and external deserts, thirsting for the water of life which is Christ.” — Benedict XVI

The Optional Memorial of St. John Damascene is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

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Mass Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Cycle A:

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 11:1-10. To help us prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, the Church recalls the prophecies of the great Isaiah on each of the four Sundays of Advent. To encourage the Chosen People who, because of the bad example of their worldly leaders, were wavering in their loyalty to Yahweh their true God, the prophet reminds them of him who is to come. This was 700 years before Christ came, but it was a reminder that God, who had called Abraham and had made him the father and founder of the Chosen People some thousand years previously, had not forgotten his promises. He would fulfill his word. He would one day send them a ruler, a king, who would rule and judge with justice because he would have the true spirit of the Lord. He who was to come would set up a kingdom of peace, not only for the Chosen People but for all men. The kingdom he was to establish would be for Jew and Gentile.

The Second Reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 15:4-9. St. Paul is telling newly converted Christians, converted Christians of Rome, many of whom were Jews, that the sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament are still a source of instruction, encouragement, and hope. The call of Abraham and the promises made to him, and to his descendants, were fulfilled in the coming of Christ. Christ was the glory of the Chosen People—the fruit of centuries of preparation and expectation—but he brought the knowledge and blessings of the true God to the Gentile pagans also. Henceforth, all men are brothers of Christ.

Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction. Add to this what has been written concerning Christ's coming among us, with his teaching and promises, and we Christians surely have an inexhaustible source of encouragement and hope. To help us prepare ourselves to welcome Christ at Christmas, the Church brings before our minds sections of the Old and New Testaments, which should inspire us with new faith, hope and charity. Faith in God, who always fulfills his promises, hope for our eventual salvation, and charity, or love for God, who has done, and is still doing. such wonderful things for us unworthy men. This charity and love of God must spill over on our neighbor, if it is sincere, for as St. John tells us, the man who says he loves God and yet hates his neighbor is a liar (2 Jn. 4:20).

The Gospel is from the Gospel of Matthew 3:1-12, an angel announced to Zechariah, a priest of the temple, that he would have a son (even though his wife Elizabeth was barren and advanced in years). This son was destined to be the Precursor who would announce the proximate arrival of the long-expected Messiah. John, the name given him by the angel even before his conception, spent his youth and early manhood as a hermit in the desert of Judea, preparing himself for his exalted office. When God revealed to him that the Messiah was soon to begin his public life, John set out for the bank of the Jordan, where he began to preach repentance, in order to prepare the people for "him who was to come."

In this holy season of Advent, as we prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas. John the Baptist has words of advice and warnings for each one of us. He advises us to "prepare the way of the Lord," by true repentance of our past sins and a firm resolution to straighten "the ways of the Lord,” that is, not to deviate from the true Christian way of life in the future.
—Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

Meditation: Jerusalem
In Palestine Christians gather today in Jerusalem for the celebration of holy Mass. In Rome they proceed to the stational church "Holy Cross at Jerusalem" which serves to give the atmosphere of the Holy City.

Why "Jerusalem"? Excavations of ancient sites often reveal a number of strata. When enemies destroyed a city, a new one would rise on the same location, so that today there are several layers of remains, one city, as it were, above the other. Our Jerusalem likewise has four strata. The bottommost layer is the Jerusalem of the Jews, that venerable land where the Lord Jesus began His mission of redemption, where He suffered and died. This is the historical Jerusalem so dear to us Christians. Anyone making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land enters that ancient city with holy awe. That Jerusalem, however, lies buried deep.

For us another has been built upon it, the Jerusalem of Christians, God's kingdom on earth, the holy Church. This city still stands; it is the one which the divine King will enter at Christmas. Now we understand why we will hear so much about Jerusalem during the coming week. We should now clean and adorn our city, improving its streets and avenues through which the Savior will make His entrance. As a motto we should take the words of the precursor, St. John the Baptist: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths; let every valley be filled, every hill be leveled." Holy Mother Church's message today is that the Savior is coming to the Jerusalem of the Christians, to the Church.

Above the second stratum there arises a third, the heavenly Jerusalem at the end of time. Already now the Church sings of this Jerusalem. For during Advent we await the Savior who will appear on the Last Day to take all into "the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven."

Finally, there may be recognized a fourth Jerusalem, our souls in sanctifying grace. This city too must be adorned and prepared, for the King will want to enter. That is our present task.

On Epiphany, the climax to the current season, the Church will cry out: "Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee." That is the goal. Today we must prepare for the great King's visit to our city. The whole coming week must be devoted to it. The Church prays: "Awaken our hearts to prepare the way for Your only-begotten Son that we may serve Him with purified hearts."

In the time of the Roman Empire, rulers rode from city to city for the purpose of official visitations. Their appearance, called epiphany or parousia, was a great event, one preceded by months of preparation. Something analogous takes place in the Jerusalem of our souls. From a high watchtower we see the Lord coming afar off. Suddenly John the Baptist appears; he hurries into the city to announce the King's approach. God condescends to manifest Himself to us in grace; but He demands the proper reception.
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace by Pius Parsch

Second Sunday of Advent
Station with Holy Cross In Jerusalem (Santa Croce in Gerusalemme):

The church in Rome appointed as the stational church for the Second Sunday of Advent is the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Of old, salvation was of the Jews, but through them, and through this church, salvation is also given to the heathens. The Jerusalem, the Sion of today's liturgy, is the Holy Catholic Church, the vessel that contains Christ and his salvation. In the mind of the liturgy the figure applies also to each Christian soul, and to the church of stone in which we await the celebration of Mass in anticipation of the advent of our Redeemer (Baur, The Light of the World).

For more on Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.