Dec 9, Second Sunday of Advent
It would be a mistake to think Jesus is only working to make people "holy" in a sense so "spiritual" that it does not address the problems of society. Jesus came to establish the "reign of God" on earth, which the Mass of Christ the King describes as "a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace." All of these characteristics go together.
For Jesus to lead us to one he must lead us to all.
The Opening Prayer and the Alternative Opening Prayer both speak of "wisdom," which St. Thomas Aquinas defines two ways: as "the habit of seeing everything in the light of the ultimate end," and as "the gift of appreciation for spiritual things" (sapientia, the Latin word for "wisdom," comes from sapor, savor, taste). In reality, these are the same: if we look at everything in the light of our final union with God, we will appreciate everything that leads us there. And if our goal on earth is to bring about the reign of God in the world, we will value everything that lets him reign in our hearts and in the hearts of others. There is no other way to renew society.
In the Opening Prayer we ask God to "remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy." The Alternative Opening Prayer identifies two obstacles: the "lure of greed" and the "darkness" that "blinds us to the vision of wisdom." If we don't see everything in the light of the goal of establishing the kingdom of God on earth, and are not hungry for spiritual things, we are blinded by the darkness of our culture. We are in the dark.
The cultural attitudes and values of our society focus us on what is immediate, not on what is ultimate. In that blindness we devote ourselves to affluence and success in this world, not to the spiritual riches whose promise "fills the minds of those who find him." During Advent we ask God to "remove" these obstacles by the "power" that makes him able to, and the "mercy" that makes him want to. Advent invites us to believe in both.
Suggested actions: You might ask yourself if you see Advent now as an exciting time of year? Do you see Jesus as an exciting leader to follow? Why? You might also consider writing down a "profession of hope" in Jesus Christ. Make explicit what you hope your relationship with him will do to give direction and purpose to all you do.