John the Baptist always makes an appearance on the Second Sunday of Advent. He is the one calling forrepentance before the presence of the Messiah. He also reminds us that his ministry is limited, and will disappearafter Jesus arrives. In the meantime, he is the sign that God has sent to his people.  Tomorrow, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. She is the one entrusted with the giftof the Messiah. She is the patron of the United States. On Thursday, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady ofGuadalupe, Patron of the Americas. Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, as a Mexican peasant girl. This week,our lives are filled with the gifts of John and Mary. Both are signs of hope and expectation for us. Hopefully, aswe continue through Advent, we will live with the same hope and expectation in our lives, as we await the returnof the Lord.  The reading from Isaiah reflects a time when there will be peace and harmony among all people. It is a time whenwe are able to live together, no matter our differences. There is a painting called the “Peaceable Kingdom” thatimages what is written in Isaiah. It shows all the different animals living together, despite the fact that they maynot like each other in life. What does this say about us? Too often we pay more attention to our differences thanwe do to our similarities. This tends to cause hard feelings and animosity between and among us. There is enoughof this in our world right now so that it is easy to wonder if we will ever be able to get along with one another.The Messiah brought a new era to humanity, and it was supposed to be a time of peace and justice. It wassupposed to be a time when we all got along together and worked for the same purpose- to build the Kingdom ofGod on earth. Unfortunately, we humans got in the way and have made things difficult through the ages. So,Advent is the time of hope when we can all get along as we prepare for the return of the Messiah. It is also a timeof expectation that we may be able to enrich each others’ lives with the gift of ourselves, and the gift of Jesus.  Imagine a world like this! It’s possible because Jesus came as one of us and brought the Father’s love up close andpersonal to us.Imagine a world that is reflected in the reading of Isaiah. It is possible if we are willing to allow the presence ofJesus to be reflected in our lives as we attempt to bring his Good News to others. Imagine!HAPPY ADVENT!!~ FR. JOE 

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