December 9th, 2012 (see other dates)
Second Sunday of Advent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1For the people of Israel, coming home from exile was a joyful occasion. The word Advent means "coming." Usually we think of Advent as a time to prepare for the coming of Jesus. But we could also think of it as a time for us to "come home"?to what? To our faith, hope, or love? To our basic values? To our family life? How can you "come home" to something deeper this Advent? How can you reclaim something you had lost or left behind? How can you return from exile?
Reading 1 Baruch 5:1-9
Reading 1 ReflectionPerhaps you noticed right away that the author of this reading is a poet. He is filled with hope and joy as he assures the Israelites in exile that God will bring them back to the holy city of Jerusalem. They are suffering very much because they are far from their homeland. But their return will be such a joyful event that even the mountains, the valleys, and the forests will do what they can to make the journey easier! In this beautiful vision of the future, the people have Godıs "mercy and justice for company."
Advent is a time for making progress on our faith journey. Take time to give thanks for God's mercy and justice in your life.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Advent is a time of beginnings. Saint Paul is confident that God's work begun in the people of Philippi will continue through to the end. What work have you begun this Advent? Have you asked God's help to continue and to complete it? (Hint: Share ideas on what this "work" might be: for example, being kind when people interrupt you, really listening to family and friends, refusing to listen to gossip, speaking well of others instead of tearing them down in words, and so on).
Reading 2 Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Reading 2 ReflectionIn his letter to the Christians at Philippi, a city in Macedonia, Paul makes two things clear. The first is his great love and affection for the Philippians, who have helped him in his ministry. The second is his hope that they will continue to become more and more like Christ. Paul is looking forward to the second coming of Christ. And he wants to make sure that all Christ's followers will be ready to receive him when he comes. What will you do during this second week of Advent to show that you, too, are becoming more like Christ?
Discussion Questions for GospelHave you ever cleared a path with a shovel or even your bare hands?perhaps through snow, or through a dense undergrowth of vines or weeds? It's hard work! This is what John is asking us to do?to clear a path in our lives to welcome Christ. Is there a path in your life that might take some heavy lifting or some cutting back of things that "catch you up"? How will you clear your path to Christ?
Maybe, because of help from family, teachers, parish, and friends, you have a smooth path toward Christ ahead of you. If so, how will you thank God? How can you help others clear their paths?
How can the Sacrament of Reconciliation help you in your work of path-clearing? Advent is a beautiful time to celebrate this sacrament.
Gospel Luke 3:1-6
Gospel ReflectionWhy do you suppose Luke makes such an effort to pin down the historical timing of the preaching of John the Baptist? He gives us a complete rundown of Roman and Jewish leaders who were in power. Luke wants us to realize that John, a "common man" chosen by God, is much more important than any worldly ruler, because he is the herald who announces the Lord's coming. John urges the people to be baptized as a sign of their repentance for their sins. When they do this, they will make the path clear for Christ to come into their lives. Then all people "shall see the salvation of God."
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Lighting the Advent WreathHave children "light" the second purple candle of their Advent wreaths. As the children light the candles, sing the following song to the tune of Here We Go ?Round the Mulberry Bush.
Advent is the special time, the special time, the special time.
Advent is the special time, we prepare for Jesus? coming.
John the BaptistIn today's gospel we meet John the Baptist. Tell the children about his life. John was chosen by God to announce Jesus' coming. John prepared people for the coming of Jesus by telling them to be sorry for what they had done wrong and to try to do only good. He lived in the desert. John wore clothing made from camel's hair and ate locusts and wild honey.
Invite the children to taste some of the foods that John ate. Provide crackers with honey spread on top and gummy bug shapes for this desert feast.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Hark the Herald!John the Baptist was a "tell-it-like-it-is" herald who went about urging people to clear a path for the Lord's coming. He wanted them to do three things: be sorry for their sins, reform their lives, and be baptized. Create a 15-second "TV spot" for the evening news in which you (alone or with friends) appear as a herald. How will you persuade viewers to make ready the way of the Lord?
Note: Encourage a free use of imagination. The "spot" can be humorous or serious as long as it gets the point across.
Who will appear as herald(s)?
What costumes, props, or symbols might be used?
What music or other special effects?
What slogan or message?
Pray: Lord, let me see how to clear a path for you in my life.
Valuing the Good ThingsPaul prays that all Christians will learn to "value the things that really matter." How do you show in your daily life that you value the following good things? Name one way in which you will practice each value. Indicate how you will practice it.
NOTE: Help the group members to recognize how he or she already values these good things. Suggest that some values may need more practice.
Good Thing I Will It Practice By:
Being just to others
Taking part in the liturgy
Helping the poor
Enjoying God's creation
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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