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Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Sunday 5 December 2021

    2nd Sunday of Advent 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    2nd Sunday of Advent

    A commentary on Isaiah by Eusebius of Caesarea
    A voice of one crying in the wilderness

    The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. The prophecy makes clear that it is to be fulfilled, not in Jerusalem but in the wilderness: it is there that the glory of the Lord is to appear, and God’s salvation is to be made known to all mankind.
    It was in the wilderness that God’s saving presence was proclaimed by John the Baptist, and there that God’s salvation was seen. The words of this prophecy were fulfilled when Christ and his glory were made manifest to all: after his baptism the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rested on him, and the Father’s voice was heard, bearing witness to the Son: This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
    The prophecy meant that God was to come to a deserted place, inaccessible from the beginning. None of the pagans had any knowledge of God, since his holy servants and prophets were kept from approaching them. The voice commands that a way be prepared for the Word of God: the rough and trackless ground is to be made level, so that our God may find a highway when he comes. Prepare the way of the Lord: the way is the preaching of the Gospel, the new message of consolation, ready to bring to all mankind the knowledge of God’s saving power.
    Climb on a high mountain, bearer of good news to Zion. Lift up your voice in strength, bearer of good news to Jerusalem. These words harmonise very well with the meaning of what has gone before. They refer opportunely to the evangelists and proclaim the coming of God to men, after speaking of the voice crying in the wilderness. Mention of the evangelists suitably follows the prophecy on John the Baptist.
    What does Zion mean if not the city previously called Jerusalem? This is the mountain referred to in that passage from Scripture: Here is mount Zion, where you dwelt. The Apostle says: You have come to mount Zion. Does not this refer to the company of the apostles, chosen from the former people of the circumcision?
    This is the Zion, the Jerusalem, that received God’s salvation. It stands aloft on the mountain of God, that is, it is raised high on the only-begotten Word of God. It is commanded to climb the high mountain and announce the word of salvation. Who is the bearer of the good news but the company of the evangelists? What does it mean to bear the good news but to preach to all nations, but first of all to the cities of Judah, the coming of Christ on earth?


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Bartholomew Fanti, Priest

    From the encyclical 'The Mystery of Faith' of Pope Paul VI
    Christ is truly 'God with us'

    In a most sublime manner, Christ is present in his Church as she offers in his name the sacrifice of the Mass. He is present in her as she administers the sacraments. But there is yet another manner in which Christ is present in his Church, a manner which surpasses all the others; it is his presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is for this reason ‘a more consoling source of devotion, a more lovely object of contemplation, a more effective means of sanctification than all the other sacraments.’ The reason is clear: it contains Christ himself and it is ‘a kind of perfection of the spiritual life; in a way, it is the goal of all the sacraments.’
    This presence is called ‘real’ – by which it is not intended to exclude all other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too – but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, the God-Man, is wholly and entirely present.
    Moreover the Catholic Church has held on to this faith in the presence in the Eucharist of the Body and Blood of Christ, not only in her teaching but also in her practice, since she has at all times given to this great Sacrament the worship which is known as Latria and which may be given to God alone.
    The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers the cult of Latria to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving Consecrated Hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to solemn veneration, and carrying them processionally to the joy of great crowds of the faithful.
    In the ancient documents of the Church we have many testimonies of this veneration. The pastors of the Church, in fact, solicitously exhorted the faithful to take the greatest care in keeping the Eucharist which they took to their homes.
    It is to be desired that the faithful, every day and in great numbers, actively participate in the sacrifice of the Mass, receive Holy Communion with a pure heart, and give thanks to Christ our Lord for so great a gift.
    In the course of the day the faithful should not omit to visit the Blessed Sacrament, which according to the liturgical laws must be kept in the churches with great reverence in a most honourable location. Such visits are a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and acknowledgment of the Lord’s presence.
    No one can fail to understand that the Divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people an incomparable dignity. Not only while the sacrifice is offered and the sacrament is received, but as long as the Eucharist is kept in our churches and oratories Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us.’ Day and night he is in our midst, he dwells with us full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtues, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak. He proposes his own example to those who come to him that all may learn to be, like himself, meek and humble of heart and to seek not their own interests but those of God.
    Anyone who approaches this august Sacrament with special devotion and endeavours to return generous love for Christ’s own infinite love, will experience and fully understand – not without spiritual joy and fruit – how precious is the life hidden with Christ in God and how great is the value of converse with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness.
    Further, you realise, venerable brothers, that the Eucharist is reserved in the churches and oratories as in the spiritual centre of a religious community or of a parish, yes, of the universal Church and of all of humanity, since beneath the appearance of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible Head of the Church, the Redeemer of the World, the Centre of all hearts, ‘by whom all things are and by whom we exist.’
    From this it follows that the worship paid to the Divine Eucharist strongly impels the soul to cultivate a ‘social’ love, by which the common good is given preference over the good of the individual. Let us consider as our own the interests of the community, of the parish, of the entire Church, extending our charity to the whole world, because we know that everywhere there are members of Christ.

    Copyright © 1996-2021 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.