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Year B, Cycle II

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NEVER SAY NO TO GOD

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There is one word which every child seems to learn but which no one has to teach them. That word is "No." They say "No" to eating the right kind of food and going to bed at the proper time. It would be the easiest thing in the world for parents simply to allow their children to do whatever they want. There would be no tears, no sulks. Just think what peace! But complete permissiveness is not a sign of love. Parents who do not take the time and effort to guide their children are not caring for them properly and lovingly. Without guidance, very few children would know what is good for them.

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HOW FORTUNATE WE ARE

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John the Baptist has been called the greatest of the prophets. All the Old Testament prophets, like Elijah and Isaiah, had a vision of the future in which God would make His presence known to humanity. But their vision was incomplete. Isaiah, in today’s first reading, speaks of a time when the poor and needy will be taken care of, when rivers will water the parched land and vegetation will flourish. All this will be accomplished when "the Holy One of Israel" makes His appearance, but Isaiah has no idea when that will be. All he can do is encourage the people of Israel to trust God.

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GOD IS ALWAYS IN CHARGE OF HIS CREATION

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There are some people who say that God created the world and went to sleep, leaving it to run all by itself. When they look around at what is happening today, at the people starving, people homeless, people at war with each other, people suffering from disease, they assume that God is still asleep and completely unconcerned. If only God would awaken and be aware of our plight!

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THE JOY OF REAL RELIGION

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We Catholics believe in God. We have accepted the moral code of Jesus and make attempts to live it. We are involved in the Church and receive her Sacraments. We can recite the Creed. Do our lives radiate gladness, that joy, that shines forth from all the pages of the New Testament? If not it seems to me that herein lies one of the major differences between the faith we profess and the faith of the early followers of Jesus.

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JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARES US FOR CHRISTMAS

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Zachary, the father of John the Baptist, perfectly summed up his son’s calling at his naming ceremony when he said, “You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare His ways before Him, to make known to His people their salvation through forgiveness of all their sins, the loving kindness of the heart of our God who visits us like the dawn from on high.”

After being under the influence of his saintly parents, Zachary and Elizabeth, he started the preparation for the mission that was to be his life. He went into the desert to be taught by God while living the life of a hermit.

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SHEPHERDS FOR THE LOST SHEEP

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The world in which Isaiah lived was not so very different from our own. He saw around him people who were in distress, suffering from the wounds and bruises which life had inflicted on them. They did not know which way to turn for comfort, but God had good news for them, which He conveyed through His prophet. He would hear their cry of distress and there would be an end to their suffering. All their wounds would be healed, and even the Earth would be blessed with abundance. God would no longer hide Himself from His people, but send a teacher to guide them.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF MARY

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Had there been no Mary, there would have been no Jesus. In God’s economy of salvation she was so important to Him and us. Our first parents sinned and had closed the gates of Heaven from us. The whole human race was banished from Paradise.

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HOW TO BE A WISE PERSON

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Is. 26:1-6 & 7:21, 24-27

Our two readings today tell us how to be wise or how to remain a fool. The wise person is the one who relies on God and builds his house on rock. The foolish one relies on people and builds his house on sand.

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EVERYTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

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Is. 25:6-10 & Mt. 15:29-37

In this first week of Advent the world is looking forward eagerly to Christmas. You only have to walk around a shopping centre to sense the hustle, bustle and excitement. The readings of today’s Mass have caught the mood of looking to the future with joyful anticipation.

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HARMONY RESTORED

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Is. 11:1-10 & Lk. 10:21-24

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