We use the word dream with different meanings. We can mean dreams while we sleep, daydreaming, or we can dream as when we long for something desirable, a vision of the way we would like things to be.
"Peace on Earth" is what Jesus promises to bring us at Christmastime. If you have a family, though, the weeks leading up to December 25 can feel anything but peaceful. Besides the shopping, decorating, visiting, cooking, and other preparations we make during Advent, there is the world at large - which can feel at odds with a message of peace. News of violence, political division, conflict, and poverty fill our television screens and social media accounts. What kind of peace can Jesus bring to a world like ours?
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There’s something both mystical and beautiful, and I’d add hopeful, about being on a mountaintop. Today, the prophet Isaiah brings us up on that high ground, far above the tough reality of human trials, by saying, "On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will provide…" not just for some, but for "all peoples."
What do we know about Andrew? Haven’t we all known someone like him? On fire, zealous, impatient to tell good news to others? Every family seems to have someone like him. There are two accounts of Andrew’s call as an apostle by Jesus in the Gospels.
Friends, we are living in an interim period between the first and second comings of Jesus, God’s only Son. Yesterday, on the First Sunday of Advent, we learned that Advent speaks of God’s promise of both comings and movement through the history of salvation to Jesus the Son of God.
Today we celebrate and honor the Martyrs of Vietnam, Saints Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions. This feast should make us pause and contemplate some profound questions. Over a period of 200 years, from the time of the arrival of Christianity in Vietnam in the mid-1600s, as many as 300,000 people were martyred for their Catholic faith.