Sometimes our Religion seems rather severe. And John the Baptist, the figure who appears today and next week in our Gospels, might seem severe too! But actually, even though the evangelist Luke says John is proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin — severe to our ears — Luke gives us a joyous context for John’s action. John is preparing the way of the Lord, making straight his path, so that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” The second reading this second Advent Sunday from Baruch is positively giddy. Listen to this paraphrase of some lines as though this passage is spoken to you: Take off your robe of mourning and misery, and put on the splendor of glory from God! God will show all the earth your splendor! God is leading you in joy, by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company. And the Epistle from Philippians strongly affirms believers: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it…” The God within these Scriptures is a God who accompanies his people in difficult times, helps them imagine a great future, and affirms them in their goodness and efforts. This week is a time when we put up and enjoy Christmas lights everywhere. So may we who are called to be light to the world do as God does: accompany others when they need a hug, give hope, and affirm goodness!
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia