Luke’s list of the imperial and religious powerbrokers of his time is strikingly neutral. It gives no clue to the violence, corruption and cruelty that lay behind their names.
In fact, their world was distinctly unpromising for a lone voice to herald a new order of mercy, renewal and grace.
Later in the Gospel, the imprisoned Baptist voices surprise, even doubt, at the revolution he inaugurated. There is much about our present world that is either resistant or hostile to the divine dream of a new heaven and a new earth.
The season of Advent rekindles our faith in the power of love, human and divine, to keep bringing a new world to birth. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come!
THE WEEK’S PRAYER FOCUS
For all prophets of hope, that they will dispel our fears and stir us to work together for a new creation.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, like John the Baptist we are called to declare God’s saving mercy for all. In hope and love let us pray for our world.
We pray with thanksgiving for all whose lives are good news for others, that they will keep kindling fresh hope in the hearts of the poor. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for humanitarian workers around the world, that they will be encouraged in their efforts by today’s international Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for all whose human rights are violated by dictatorial regimes, that they will achieve justice by peaceful means. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for all who have fled or been forced from their homeland, that like the exiles of Baruch’s day they will one day return home in safety and peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for the holy city of Jerusalem, that by God’s grace it will become an inspiring place of peace for people of every race and faith. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for all people in aged and palliative care, that they will be looked after with respect, compassion and love. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for emergency service personnel preparing for the summer fire season, that their dedicated care for the community and for nature will keep everyone safe. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for our parish community, that the celebration of Mary’s Immaculate Conception will deepen our faith in God’s saving power. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for the recently deceased . . . and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time, that they will reach the perfect goodness promised by the Day of Christ. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
All-saving God, you called John the Baptist to proclaim the forgiveness of sin. Open our eyes and our hearts to your saving grace. We ask this through Christ our Lord.