December 8, 2013 - 2nd Sunday of Advent

posted Dec 6, 2013, 8:45 AM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:13 PM ]

Gospel of Matthew 3: 1-12

Kat’s Reflection
Just recently, I had a string of health issues come up. I didn't expect them at all because I thought I was doing everything right. I exercised 6 days a week. I ate healthy most of the time. I don't smoke, drink heavily or do drugs. At a recent female check up, my blood pressure was higher than normal. It was really high, enough that the doctor I was seeing made another appointment for me to see my primary care physician to get checked out.

My primary care physician initially thought this was a fluke. My BP would come down within the 2 week waiting period before my re-check. My only instructions were to control my salt intake to a low-salt diet and continue working out and doing what I was doing. However, I love my salty foods (in decent portions of course). I crave that more than sweets. Did you know that we're only to have one teaspoon of salt a day? It's a major factor when it comes to high blood pressure. Even though I knew to cut out the salt, I really didn't do it fully. I justified the instructions with my thought of, "if I change how I really eat, then it's not going to give them a true reading of how I really am. Why should I change then?"

How often do we hear good advice and not listen to it? I heard several people tell me the same exact thing. My mom, some close friends, the nurse, THE DOCTOR. I didn't even listen to the doctor, the expert in my health issue. I hear advice about a subject and even give the same advice. When I find myself in that same predicament, I don't follow their nor my own suggestions. It's hard to do, even though the advice is clearly understandable.

When John the Baptist is telling the Pharisees and the Sadducees to repent and prepare, they don't truly understand the weight of what his message is. He couldn't have been more blunt and forward about telling the people about "the one who is coming" being "mightier and will baptize, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit". This is HUGE and they don't see or get it. Then again, how would they know that this advice was supposed to be really important?

I now know that my sodium intake is part of why my blood pressure is high. Also, I now need medication just to keep it in a normal range. If I had taken the advice and warnings of my close family, friends and doctor, I may not have needed to be on this medication. Because I've started taking it, I've been told that I cannot stop taking it. THIS is a huge deal to me. What I didn't understand then, I completely understand now; lesson learned and I've changed. Although I don't keep my sodium intake to one teaspoon, I'm conscious of how much salt I consume and make an effort to keep it as low as possible.

I'm sure the Pharisees and Sadducees finally came to understand John the Baptist's warnings and advice when Jesus came. Hopefully, they took it to heart and repented and prepared for the "one to come's" arrival. Maybe we can all learn a lesson and pay attention to the blunt advice that is given to us whether we want to hear it or not. Or, if we do hear it and understand it, maybe we can just believe it in and follow it instead of second guessing it.

Jerico's Reflection
Preparation is a word that sticks out to me in this week’s gospel.

When I was in high school I was always told to prepare for certain tests or due dates for essays, assignments and projects. Working last minute was not an option, most teachers would say. They would tell us to prepare in advance. I remember that in my junior year in high school. I was in AP US History. It was a tough subject. My teacher based our WHOLE grade on two things; the midterm and the final exam. All he did was lecture and talk about the subject for that day. NO HOMEWORK, just reading assignments to prepare for the lesson each day.

My teacher had explained that in order to do well in this class, we must prepare ourselves before we enter. We have to read the assigned reading each night in order to follow along and to understand the topic.

I remember it was one evening, 2 days before the midterm exam. I was out with some friends and I told myself that I can catch up on the reading the next day. So I slept through the night not thinking of the assigned reading for that day.

The next day I went to class and I didn’t understand or know the material my teacher was talking about and the next assigned reading was three times the amount of pages than the last assigned reading. So now, with only a day before the exam and more reading and studying to do, I got frantic. I was stressing out and I felt like I was prepared. I went into the exam thinking that I crammed everything I can.

I wasn’t prepared to take on the exam.

How many of us procrastinate on things like homework, projects, assignments, due dates at work, cleaning up the house and more?

This week’s gospel talk about preparation. Preparing for Jesus’ coming wasn’t/isn’t always easy. But the gospel tells us to prepare ourselves. To make room in our hearts for the coming savior.

Just like my exam, we can't just Jesus on the side. We can't turn Jesus on or off like a light switch.

What are some ways you can prepare for Jesus? Our lives are so consumed with so many things that its hard to make room for anything.

But Jesus gives us hope in knowing that if we can open our hearts to him, things will be alright.

So today, take challenge. Go out and find ways to prepare for Jesus in your own life. Maybe say a pray every morning when you get up? Or talk to your parents or siblings about Jesus?  There are many different ways to prepare for Him. What are some ways you can start today?