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In Memoriam: Maureen D. Ford

Maureen D. Ford

d. December 10, 2017

May she rest in peace.

  • Obituary not published yet.

From the Archives of Fr. Metzler’s Homilies: 2nd Sunday of Advent, Cycle B

“Our Christmas Wish – Be a Giver”

Isaiah 40: 1-5, 8-11     2 Peter 3: 8-14      Mark 1: 1-8

This second Sunday in Advent speaks to us of a promise kept: God’s promise of salvation, kept in the sending of Jesus. But it also speaks of our personal promise to God to accept this wonderful Gift of salvation. As we continue to journey through this season, we are preparing to keep it.

Today’s Gospel is the very beginning of the Gospel of Mark; First off, he tells us it’s “Good News”. And then he begins with the coming on to the scene of John the Baptist. John is a wild, ranting sort. But he says we must “prepare the way of the Lord”.

Mark dares to say that in a world that is broken and weary God is about to bring about a NEW CREATION where peace and harmony will prevail over pride and violence.

And this new beginning, which occurs at the coming of Jesus, even transcends the original creation in its scope and significance. God’s dream for a world of peace and justice had not been fulfilled – and even after the birth of Jesus it has not — and due entirely to the obstacles which WE have placed in its path. And so, as we begin the Season of Advent, we begin to prepare once again, properly for his coming.

Mark tells us that the career of John the Baptist was described already in the words of Isaiah, and he is also telling us that opening the road for the coming of the Lord and leveling the mountains, and filling the valleys, is still a major problem. We are still preventing the coming of the Lord by personally refusing to open ourselves to the radical implications of the message of Jesus.

The baptism of John was not a real baptism, of course. Baptism is dying with Christ and rising with him to New Life. And Jesus had not accomplished this as yet in John’s time. John’s baptism is called a baptism of repentance.

And it represents both a negative side and a positive one: the first is an expression of regret for having refused to accept fully in one’s life the implications of the coming of the Lord. And the other, the positive aspect is a declaration of personal readiness to make room in our lives for the Lord, however costly that may be.

The first implies a full and conscious acceptance of what Jesus teaches. That results in putting aside self-centeredness and beginning to be more loving and caring toward others. If that really happened, we would soon see what the new creation can be. Because as the Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton once said: “Christianity hasn’t failed; it hasn’t even been tried!”

One of the major ways in which we prevent the coming of the Lord is our fear that, if we don’t focus our attention primarily on our own interests, we will lose control of our lives and be pulled apart by the needs of others. We are afraid that, like Humpty Dumpty, if we don’t spend most of our time keeping ourselves intact, we’ll disintegrate.

But Jesus says that we have to become like that grain of wheat. It allows itself to be consumed, to die to itself in the earth, and so it becomes much more than it had ever previously been before. In the resurrection, God shows how all the pieces can be put back together and how a single, generous seed can yield   a wonderful harvest.

To accept to live the life, the Way of Jesus means to choose to commit yourself to live as unselfishly as one’s freedom permits. which usually means a lot more than we think is possible, and usually a lot more unselfishly than we are now. That’s why the custom of giving of presents at Christmas is a symbol of our willingness to be unselfish. It’s shy charities know that this is the time to send you all those appeals for contributions in the mail.

Unselfishness is the sign that we understand the message of Jesus. It doesn’t mean that we should become some kind of doormat; but it does mean that the needs of others should not be the last and least concern in our lives. In other words, it means to put our lives and our futures into the hands of a gracious God instead of thinking we had to put it all together ourselves, as we strive to make the love and gentleness of Jesus present in our world as our way of life.

All of this may sound like a life of endless giving to others and very little fun or happiness. But the only persons who affirm that are those who have not really tried to live by the model of Jesus. The fact is that those who really care about others are undoubtedly the happiest people on earth.

As we continue on our journey, listen to John the Baptist. He urges us to remove the roadblocks of fear and self-centeredness in our lives and thus assure ourselves of a truly joyous Advent and Christmas celebration.

 

Readings: December 10, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Advent

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 40:1-5, 8-11

        Messages of Comfort Prepare for God’s Arrival

“Comfort, oh comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem, but also make it very clear that she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!

She’s been punished enough and more than enough, and now it’s over and done with.”

Thunder in the desert! “Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God. Fill in the valleys, level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks. Then God’s bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. Yes. Just as God has said.”

Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid! Tell the cities of Judah, “Look! Your God!” Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power, ready to go into action.

He is going to pay back his enemies and reward those who have loved him. Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.                

  • 2 Peter 3:8-14

The Day the Sky Will Collapse

Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.

But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.

Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but /we’ll/ hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.

So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace.

  • Mark 1:1-8

     John the Baptizer

The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you; He’ll make the road smooth for you.

Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!

John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

 

Refelction from Fr. Taylor: December 10, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40: 1-5, 8-11     2 Peter 3: 8-14      Mark 1: 1-8

In this Sunday’s readings from Isaiah, chapter 40, there is a special meaning of comfort as we prepare for the way of the Lord. Isaiah speaks to people who are in turmoil. They have been troubled. They have been in exile and want a way to come back home. Isaiah speaks of the forgiving nature of Jesus who is ready to take us back after a period of cleansing.

We for our part are asked to do what John the Baptist reminds us of ”make straight in the wasteland our highway for our God.” We must make every valley filled in. We must make every mountain low. We must make a way for each other in our troubled world to see not only is there a way out, but there is every reason to have hope. This requires reflection, prayer, and devotion. It also requires of us the necessary element of seeing ahead. We are celebrating now the beginning of salvation history during the Advent Season. We are asked to take a look with new eyes and with new vision what God has in store for us.

The birth of Jesus does not remove all the trouble and hardships that are part of our existence, but it did give us a new opportunity to see that we will always overcome evil when Jesus is the center of our lives. As we continue during this Advent Season in our resolutions to be better, to live better, and to serve better let us continue to remind ourselves that we are all in this together. John the Baptist preached this way as he was a fore runner of the Lord, but he also is preaching to us. He calls us to be redeemed, calling us to be repentant, and most of all asking us to put into practice, the baptismal call that all of us have.

May you have a Holy and Peace-filled Advent Season

In Memoriam: Kathleen (Dalmasse) Rothrauff

Kathleen (Dalmasse) Rothrauff

d. December 5, 2017

May she rest in peace

 

 

Second Sunday Of Advent, December 10, 2017

Wilkinsburg Sun: December 2017/January 2018

Readings: December 3, 2017, 1st Sunday of Advent

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64: 2-7

O, Lord, You are our living Father, our Redeemer, famous from eternity! Why, God, did you make us wander from your ways? Why did you make us cold and stubborn so that we no longer worshiped you in awe?

Turn back for the sake of your servants. You own us! We belong to you! For a while your holy people had it good, but now our enemies have wrecked your holy place. For a long time now, you’ve paid no attention to us. It’s like you never knew us.

Can We Be Saved?

Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend, make the mountains shudder at your presence — As when a forest catches fire, as when fire makes a pot to boil — to shock your enemies into facing you, make the nations shake in their boots! You did terrible things we never expected, descended and made the mountains shudder at your presence.

Since before time began no one has ever imagined, no ear heard, no eye seen, a God like you who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who happily do what is right, who keep a good memory of the way you work.

But how angry you’ve been with us! We’ve sinned and kept at it so long! Is there any hope for us? Can we be saved? We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated. Our best efforts are grease-stained rags. We dry up like autumn leaves — sin-dried, we’re blown off by the wind.

No one prays to you or makes the effort to reach out to you Because you’ve turned away from us, left us to stew in our sins.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters: may all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours.

Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

  • Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:“ No one knows the exact day and hour, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

 

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: December 3, 2017, 1st Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 63: 16b-17, 19b  64:2-7    1 Corinthians 1:3-9      Mark 13:33-37

Be watchful and alert! In today’s Gospel on the first Sunday of Advent we are taught to be serious, be alert because one never knows the day or the hour when the Lord will choose. We should not look forward to this in fear and trembling, but we do know that each day God gives us  is a serious day. It is one in which we have to make decisions and decide where our life is going and where our priorities are.

One big theme in the Advent Season is “O Come O Come Emanuel”. We anticipate His birth at Christmas, but also the final coming. We see ourselves as Kingdom Builders. We are one big family of God with different gifts, different talents, with different cultures and nationalities, but with the same goals.

Advent tells us that no one is really saved alone. We always must bring others with us. In The church, we stress Community Serving. We bring our gifts as a family gift. Let’s be sure that we are using this Advent Season as a time of grace hope and anticipation. As busy as the season may be nothing is more important than searching for more ways to have our faith and life on a firm foundation.

May God Continue To Be With You In This Holy Advent Season.

 

First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017