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December 8, Second Sunday in Advent Jn 1/6-8, 19-28
Catholic Homilies
December 8th, 2002

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Second Sunday in Advent Jn 1/6-8, 19-28


The background material from the first two Sundays of Advent is relevant here. Again the early Christians are casting John the Baptist as a precursor of Jesus, perhaps inaccurate history but useful pedagogy because it suggests that we too have a Baptist-like role. At another level, the Baptist had a religious insight not unlike that of Jesus, the notion of the kingdom of God, as described poetically in the psalms and the prophecies was becoming clearer and clearer in the minds of Jewish teachers (and there were parallel developments in other religious traditions at that time). The Baptist saw the kingdom as apocalyptic and thus prepared for the appearance of Jesus's more highly developed vision. Father Bruce Chilton (and Anglican scholar) has written well about the kingdom, especially in his book: "Pure Kingdom: Jesus Vision of God" (Erdmans).

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Once upon a time there were two kids who had grown weary of Christmas. Same old thing, they said, year after year. We ask for wonderful presents and we get most of what we want and on Christmas day we're disappointed, not with what we didn't get but with what we did get. It's an anti-climax. What's an anti-climax said the other. The empty feeling we get when we're surrounded by all our presents and all the wrapping paper and ribbons that we've torn off them. Oh, said the second kid, THAT feeling. What can we do about it. They both thought very hand about their problem. We can't refuse the presents they agreed. Maybe we can give more presents to others? But that will just make them feel empty. This is a conundrum, said the one who liked to use big words. What's a conundrum? A big puzzle. Oh. Hey, I know what to do. What? Let's try to be nice to everyone the week before Christmas. To my big brother? Yes. What about your little sister? That brat? Oh, all right. But it's going to ! be very hard. Let's pretend we're walking through the cold to Bethlehem. Even my bratty little sister? Even your bratty little sister. So that's what they did and it was hard but they did it just the same. and their parents thought they were sick. But they were a lot happier on Christmas day.

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