Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bishop's Note for Advent 2 Year B

Bishop Eric Menees

In this second week of Advent, we continue to watch and pray and prepare to receive the Lord!  This week we hear the Prophet Isaiah calling out to the people words of comfort and hope.  However, they immediately follow the warning to King Hezekiah that the Babylonians will attack and carry off the young men and the treasury.  How can you have both a prophecy of doom and a prophecy of hope for the same people?  The answer is: because God sees the big picture - the macro and the micro - of all situations.   

What is that prophecy of hope? 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Even if you are not familiar with the words of Isaiah, you will probably associate them with John the Baptist proclaiming the fulfillment of this prophecy.  In fact, all four gospels confirm (Mt. 3:3, Mk. 1:2, Lk. 3:4 & Jn. 1:24) that Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of this prophecy - a prophecy uttered some seven hundred years prior to Jesus, and that preceeded great devastation and grief.  But through it all, God was faithful, even if the people were not.

As we move through the trials and tribulations of life, we can always count on the absolutely constant character of God - He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)  Why?  Because of what he did two thousand years ago in a stable in Bethlehem; the Glory of the Lord was revealed in Jesus bar-Joseph who is also known as Immanuel - God with us. (Mt. 1:23)

Because God is constant and has revealed Himself in His Son Jesus, we can trust that He will fulfill His promise to come again and judge the earth; not judging out of wrath or vengeance, but out of His constant character of love and justice.

This week we light the second candle of the Advent wreath and draw closer to the day when we will either be called home, or welcome Him who promised to come in His Second Advent.
Catechism Questions 49 - 51

49.    Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the eternal Word and Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He took on human flesh to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the only Mediator between God and fallen mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 1:14; 14:6; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
50.    What does “Jesus” mean?
“Jesus” means “God saves” and is taken from the Hebrew name Yeshua or Joshua. In Jesus, God has come to save us from the power of sin and death. (Matthew 1:21)
51.    What does “Christ” mean?

Christos is a Greek word meaning “Anointed One.” Old Testament kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to perfectly fulfill these roles and he rules now as God’s prophet, priest, and king over his Church and all creation. (Acts 10:38)

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