Today’s1 st Reading and Gospel are:

Reading 1IS 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.

The Word of the Lord! Thanks be to God!

GospelMT 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Gospel of the Lord! Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ!

I love the 1st Reading, especially the part about the animals and child being friends. While we pray for peace, I think we need to remember that we pray for a peace the world cannot give. The peace we pray for will come at the 2nd coming of Christ. The absence of guns and violence is not peace. There are Counties where people do not have guns, so they don’t go around shooting each other, but there is still no real Peace in these countries, there is oppression. We need to pray for the Peace of Christ. This peace lives in our hearts. We can have peace if we try to live as Christ asks us to live and receive the Sacraments frequently.

The Gospel speaks of Repenting of our sins and turning back to Christ. Many churches have Penance Services during Advent for the community, with several priests present to hear Confessions of the people. These should be packed. Some places I have lived there are plenty of people, families included who attend. In some places the children living in the home are the only children at the penance service. I wonder where all the children are who have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a good time to start a good habit in your family, if you haven’t already. Start the tradition that the family goes to the Advent Reconciliation service and those old enough go to Confession every year. Then the kids will grow to expect that this is what happens. Just like growing up I knew we went to these every year, even if I had just gone to Confession in Nov. Or I knew that we started decorating for Christmas Thanksgiving weekend every year. When it is tradition we expect it. And parents guide your children well, expect them to go, even if they don’t want to! In the future they will thank you!

Some picture from this weekend: