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Sunday, December 10, 2006

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Second Sunday of Advent

Baruch 5:1-9
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Psalm 126
Luke 3:1-6

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"just like it used to be"

"Make ready the way of the Lord, clear Him a straight path." —Luke 3:4

How would you like to have a Christmas just like the first one in Bethlehem? Most Christians would have to say they don't want anything like the first Christmas. Who wants Bethlehem poverty, the manger, and the rejection at the inn? Who wants Christ's Christmas of love, sacrifice, and self-denial instead of the fake Christmas of self, comfort, and pleasure-seeking?

Of course, most of us modern Christians think we can have both, by having a worldly Christmas with a few spiritual touches. However, the Lord says; "No man can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or be attentive to one and despise the other" (Mt 6:24).

"O you unfaithful ones, are you not aware that love of the world is enmity to God?" (Jas 4:4) "Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show — all these are from the world" (1 Jn 2:15-16).

To have a Bethlehem-Christmas, we need a baptism of repentance (Lk 3:3), John the Baptist instead of Santa Claus, Confession instead of confusion, and fasting instead of feasting.

Prayer:  Jesus, have mercy. May I "learn to value the things that really matter, up to the very day of Christ" (Phil 1:10).

Promise:  "It is my wish that you may be found rich in the harvest of justice which Jesus Christ has ripened in you, to the glory and praise of God." —Phil 1:11

Praise:  Praise Jesus, risen from the dead, Who puts to shame all the things of this passing world.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Counter-Cultural on audio AV 17A-3 or video V-17A.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006

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