Monday, December 6, 2010

Confirmation I and II: December 5, 2010: Second Sunday of Advent – Read the Gospel: Mt 3:1-1224:37-44

Journal: How did you live out last week’s Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

Maybe this Advent we should trim and burn some tree limbs, not just trim our Christmas trees.
John the Baptist seems to sternly warn religious leaders that people who ignore his call to change will face a fiery judgment. They’ll be like rotten trees cut down and burned.
I think John liked to shock people. But for good reason. He lived in a world full of poverty and injustice. He wanted people to face how their sins were hurting the world. Don’t let John’s harsh words scare you. True, our sinful habits and attitudes are like rotten trees or bare branches. Things like selfishness and prejudice take away our happiness, hurt others, and keep us from working for a just world. But Jesus can help us trim these “tree limbs” from our lives. I know a young man who decided as a teenager to change his life in a plane ride home from a Catholic conference. He hadn’t been treating girls he’d dated with respect. He’d been hanging out with the wrong crowd. Jesus, he said, showed him what to change and gave him the confidence to do it. He’s a lot happier now.
We light candles in Advent to remember that Christ can bring light (guidance and warmth) to the darkness in our lives and in the world. We also remember that Christ’s light can burn away what hold us back from our full potential. Take time in advent to feel God’s compassion in the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Or talk with a teacher, friend, or parent about things you’d like to change. You’ll realize, as you trim your Christmas tree, that Jesus is gently trimming your soul.

Journal: What can you change about yourself this Advent to make the world a brighter place? Be specific.

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