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2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B

Some theologians have said that philosophy is the handmaid of theology.
In other words, some philosophical reflection can lead to a deeper understanding of some aspects of the faith.

I personally think that the same can be said of psychology.
Again, I am inclined to believe that a better knowledge of our human ways of thinking, of acting and reacting,
can help us to understand God’s ways!
Of course, there is an amazing difference – a divine one!
Yet, since God made himself a human being, there must be some similarities.

I say this especially as we live – yes, LIVE – this period of Advent.
Everyone repeats that it is a season of waiting, awaiting the coming of someone, Someone with a capital S.
If we look at our human experience of WAITING, we may understand better what this season is about.

  • A wife waiting for the return of a husband gone for a long period on a research trip;
  • parents awaiting the return of a child who had been away roaming the world;
  • a mother-to-be waiting for 9 long months for the birth of her first-born;
  • a student waiting for the exam results that will mean the open door to further studies.

All of them know well what it means to wait – this desire, this longing for the event to take place.
The anxious thought that… perhaps there will be a delay, a change of plan, an accident, a failure…
The anticipation of what will take place when it does finally happen.
There is already a taste of the joy to come – the joy of being together again.

Has this human experience anything to say to our waiting for God?
A word of caution here: it is not a question of putting Baby Jesus back in the Crib – NO!
Oh, we may do this as a teaching aid to help young children understand what Christmas is about.
We do it and it is appropriate for this situation and for that reason.
But many adults protest – and rightly so – that this is not the deep meaning of Christmas NOW.

Simply said: Christmas in our time is NOT putting Baby Jesus back in the Crib –
it is allowing God to take his place at the heart of our human experience – nothing less.

And this takes some practice… it takes some preparing to accept God as God in all the areas of our daily life –
“the mountains and the valleys, the cliffs and the ridges” of which Isaiah speaks about.
This is why there is and ADVENT Season … and more, to do this!

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Note: Another reflection on different themes is available in French at:

and a video presentation is also offered at:

2nd Sunday of Advent, C

mountains 2nd AdventYou may have been told these words at one time or another.
It may have been that you were telling someone about something quite unusual, or unexpected.
You were describing a situation, or an event, that the person listening to you could hardly imagine having happened.
He, or she, spontaneously exclaimed: “But, it’s the world upside down!”

This expression came to my mind as I read the text of the gospel for this 2nd Sunday of ADVENT (Lk.3:1-6).
It is an echo of a text from the prophet Isaiah (40:3-5) where, indeed, everything is turned crooked path 2nd adventupside down:
“The mountains brought low, the valleys filled in, the winding ways straightened and the rough roads made smooth.”

But the beginning of the text is saying: “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”
So, it seems that we have something to do with… turning things upside down!

Could it mean that…
Our pride should become a truthful look at ourselves,
our selfishness should be replaced with concern for others,
our dishonesty should be straightened up into honest dealings with people,
and, yes, all our other crooked ways should be transformed into genuine attitudes according to what the Lord expects from us?…

And the change might bring people around us to whisper: ‘Incredible, unbelievable! It’s the world upside down!’
They would be truly astonished at the Spirit obviously at work – if only we allow him to fashion us into the people we are meant to be…