Celebrant: Having heard God's word, we now present our needs before Him with confidence.
That the Church throughout the world may faithfully and joyfully call upon all nations to prepare the way of the Lord, we pray to the Lord...
That governments may be inspired by the words of the prophets to promote justice, mercy, and peace, we pray to the Lord...
That the Church may bring about effective repentance from the sin of abortion, and the gift healing to those wounded by it, we pray to the Lord…
That the sick and the lonely may enjoy the consolation of the presence and love of family, friends, and the wider Christian community, we pray to the Lord...
That those who have died may be filled with the joy of seeing Jesus face to face, we pray to the Lord...
Father, as you hear and answer our prayers,
give us grace to long for the coming of Your Son,
and to prepare a world ready for Him,
who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
The pain of abortion – from one who knows…
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was so scared and felt like I didn’t know where to turn. I felt like I had no other choice. After I had my abortion I felt relief at first. But after 7 years of denial it finally hit me. I was so scared when I found out what an abortion really [is]. I was so angry at my family and boyfriend (now husband). I felt like nobody was there for me. I was angry at the clinic personnel for saying everything would be fine. I found Project Rachel and they helped me start to grieve [for] my child. So many women feel that if they had more support and truth during their crisis pregnancy many lives would have been saved.” Help is available: Call 1-800-712-HELP.
Phil 1:4-6, 8-11
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God has “begun a good work” in each of us (2nd Reading) when he called us, through faith and baptism, to live in Christ and to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness.” Advent is meant to accomplish growth in this fruit in our lives. By that growth, we then work together to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Gospel), whom the First Reading makes clear is a God of Justice. “Every valley shall be filled” – the valleys where people languish because their rights are trampled, their dignity forgotten, and their lives thrown onto the outskirts of society. “Every mountain and hill shall be made low” – the mountains of pride whereby we think our own choices determine what is right and wrong, rather than submitting our choices to the truth that became visible when Christ was born.
This is a time of year when prayers and thoughts of “peace on earth” come naturally into our lives. The first reading speaks of “the peace of justice.” Peace does not simply mean that wars stop. Peace means that nobody is so victimized that a war is the only way to defend them. Peace comes only when justice is restored.
The Advent journey of God’s people is a journey of fighting for the God-given rights of every human being – from the unborn child to the prisoner on death row. Getting engaged in the work of justice, in the light of Christ, is the way to celebrate Advent and prepare the world for Christmas.