Categories: HomiliesPublished On: December 6th, 2020Tags: , 735 words22.3 min read

Here are links to our readings for the day:

Spe Salvi

At the end of October St Joseph has hosted the diocesan Fall Conference. It is a gathering of people who teach and witness the faith to our youth. This year, because of COVID, it did not happen. The keynote speaker was to be Fr Adam Laski. His presentation was entitled Spe Salvi. It is Latin for ‘saved through hope’. The readings for this Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, are particularly expressing this message of saved through hope. In the first reading from Isaiah God is instructing to Isaiah to proclaim hope and comfort to the people. Soon they would be making the journey back to Jerusalem. Now, they are exiled in Babylon, hundreds of miles East of Jerusalem.

Between Babylon and Jerusalem is modern day Iran. The terrain is rugged, jagged mountains with deep gorges and valley. But God is telling the people these mountains will be leveled and the valleys filled, to prepare a straight way for the Lord to come. God’s people will travel this same road. This is a great hope to see huge mountains leveled and valleys filled. The people will soon return home.

For nine weeks we have been told to be prepared, be vigilant, for we do not know when the Lord will return. This week the readings indicate that we should know the message by now but in the second letter of Saint Peter, we hear a different prophecy. We are told, “Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire.” Everything is to be dissolved in flames and melted in fire when our Lord comes. We must pause and ask ourselves how do we feel about this? Everything dissolved in flames. Well your response will be on how you feel prepared. But even more important than this is the next line in the Bible. “But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” There, does that make you feel better? It should if you remember the promise. Do you remember the promise?

Here is a clue. We are listening to the words of Saint Peter and are reading the gospel of Mark. We need to remember that there was a lot of prayer and thought that went into selecting these specific readings for this Sunday. Sometimes we think that the second reading has no bearing on the first reading or the gospel. I would say there is always a reason why it was selected. So, let us look at the Gospel of Mark. In this case we need to look at the entire gospel, the way Mark is structured. Mark is the smallest gospel. The first part of the gospel is telling us who Jesus is. That Jesus has come into the world as the Messiah. We need to follow the teaching of John the Baptist and repent. There is the baptism of John by water but with Jesus the baptism will be with the Holy Spirit.

In the second part of Mark’s Gospel we are moving to Jerusalem and Jesus’ Passion. What is in the middle? The Transfiguration. Why is this important? Who was at the Transfiguration? Jesus, Peter, James, and John. Peter is sharing, in the second reading, his firsthand account of what happened. He is sharing his witness. He saw the glory of God illuminated through Jesus. Peter, having seen the Transfiguration, can claim that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. This is the promise Peter references today.

Rather than fearing the dissolving of the earth and the heavens in flames we should be eager for the coming of the Lord because Jesus will bring a new heaven and a new earth. The Gospel of Mark indicates that we should be at peace because we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. At peace if indeed we have been watchful and prepared ourselves for the coming of Christ.

May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Fr Ed Anderson
Email: fatheredanderson[at]
Phone: 715.817.3736

St. Joseph Church – Rice Lake
Holy Trinity – Haugen
St. John the Evangelist – Birchwood
Our Lady of Lourdes – Dobie

Fr Ed Anderson