Scripture Reflections – Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Is 2:1-7; Rom 13:11-17; Mt 24:37-44
1st Sunday in Advent

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to assist in the aid effort currently underway in the Philippines to assist the victims of the typhoon and recent earthquake, here are two good ways to do it: Contact the Red Cross (,The United Nations World Food Program ( or Catholic Relief Services (

It seems that President Barak Obama has managed to find more common ground with the government of Iran than he can with at least the more radical elements of the Republican party. (One day I’ll write about the subconscious(?) racism that plays a larger part in the obstreperousness of the Tea Party specifically and white Conservative America in general than is usually noted in the media.)

For now, the recent accord between the United States, the European Union and one of the sworn enemies of the West, Iran, has my attention when I read that famous line from the prophet Isaiah which is now enshrined in stone across from the United Nations building in New York City: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” We’re a long way from the magnificent vision of peace when the kingdom of God is fully established which the prophet Isaiah presents to us, but…even a six month moratorium is a step in the right direction.

But wait ….there is more good news. One of the best kept secrets of the modern world – the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church- reminds us that in order to acheive a true and lasting peace, we must work for justice. In his just released apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis takes dead aim at the tragic illusion harbored by so many in the West (including, too often,me) that laisez-faire capitalism will one day lead to the world’s financial liberation. Well, maybe for a few – but if they look down for a moment they’ll notice that the step-ladder they’ve used to climb over the wall is actually the crushed and broken bodies of the poor. Again- there’s a long way to go in a world where somewhere between one-third and one-half of us live on less than two dollars a day. If more Catholics take the Pope’s words to heart with the religous assent of faith, however, that has to make a difference in how we in the West prioritize things.

So, as we enter this Advent season which is all about Hope, let us take a moment to rejoice in these small but real signs of God’s kingdom breakking through in the present. And while we are rejoicing, let us take a moment to give thanks for those in our lives who love us sometimes because of and often inspite of ourselves. (That means you, Rosalie.)

Jim Philipps (3rdmillenniumpilgrim)

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