December 5. 2nd Sunday of Advent C. Two candles are lit on the Advent wreath. The people of Israel had become materialistic, greedy and selfish, had no longer obeyed God’s commandments and were conquered by the Babylonians. Jerusalem was destroyed and the majority of the people were taken into exile. In due time they were allowed to return home. The prophets of the time had warned them constantly and had spoken about God’s interventions, warning them and promising an eventual restoration.

They go out, they go out full of tears, bearing seed for the sowing. they come back they come back with a song, bearing their sheaves. Psalm 126. God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up to make level ground so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command.” Baruch 5:1-9. Pope Francis: . the experience of the Babylonian captivity provoked a spiritual crisis which led to deeper faith in God. His creative omnipotence was given pride of place in order to exhort the people to regain their hope in the midst of their wretched predicament. LS 74 . For reflection and discussion: How does this scenario relate to our time when again materialism, greed and selfishness has become a way of life and the environment is being destroyed all around us. Are we listening to the prophets of our day, including those at recent climate change conferences? Are we sufficiently aware of God’s promises of restoration? Can we yet say the issues are being addressed and our world of creation and nature is being restored?