Advent 2014: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: Reflection for Second Sunday of Advent
STUDY: PCUSA's official statement following the grand jury decision in Ferguson
ACT: 5 ways to simplify Christmas
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Second Week of Advent, Dec. 7-13
The second week of Advent offers many opportunities for prayer, study and action. The week will include a number of days of observance including the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dec. 8), the International Day for Human Rights (Dec. 10) and the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec. 12). We'll send out special reflections on each of those days. 
   In addition to sending you reflections for these upcoming days of observance, we'll continue to post them on the website on our Advent resource page. Any time you want to recall something you read earlier or if you're looking for an idea for your family, local group, church, or school to incorporate into your practice this season, you can find it on this page.


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: Dec. 7, Second Sunday of Advent

By Bishop Kenneth Untener

 Is 40:1-5, 9-11 | 2 Pt 3:8-14 | Mk 1:1-8


Thus it was that John the Baptizer appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance. (Mk 1:4)

John the Baptist is the man of whom Jesus would say, "History has not known a man born of woman greater than John." That's quite a statement. Greater than all the pharaohs of Egypt? Greater than King Solomon? Really. It just goes to show that you can't tell a book by its cover.

    John the Baptist's life didn't look like a great one. He probably died thinking his life was a failure. The Messiah who came was embarrassingly unlike the one he had preached about. The Messiah, after all, was to wield a winnowing-fan and set all things right. John prepared the way. Jesus came and announced that the kingdom was at hand ... and there was John in jail. He even had to send some of his disciples to ask, "Are you 'He who is to come,' or do we look for another?"...

To read the rest of this reflection, click here. 

* If you have not ordered an Advent booklet this year and would still like to do so, you can still download the electronic version and download it immediately.
STUDY: PCUSA's official statement following the grand jury decision in Ferguson

Pax Christi USA is deeply disappointed and saddened by the grand jury decision not to indict Office Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. An indictment would have moved the process of justice forward, allowing Officer Wilson to be tried by a jury of his peers and the events that led to the death of Michael Brown fully considered. It is our opinion that the failure to indict is another failure of the justice system in protecting the rights of people of color in our nation.

   Pax Christi USA stands with the people of Ferguson and Michael Brown's family in the hope for a nonviolent resolution to a volatile situation.  The people of Ferguson, as well as communities of color all across our country, are rightfully angry, and they have a right to peacefully demonstrate and to demand further action.  Protestors have a right to engage without militarized intimidation from law enforcement. Police have a duty to nonviolently help to defuse tension where necessary, without recourse to overtly militant and provocative actions, including the use of tear gas and pepper spray. All citizens have the right to expect that their homes, churches and businesses will be safe from raids, destruction and looting...


ACT: 5 ways to simplify Christmas

from Education for Justice 


Plan ahead to ensure appropriate ways to celebrate the birth of Christ. Have a meeting to decide how your school, class, parish, or family can celebrate Christmas in a way that is joyous and simple.


1. Reflect carefully on all kinds of gifts you give or donate during the holiday season. Refrain from supporting companies that deny fair wages, healthcare, and other rights to their workers.


2. Give alternative gifts, such as crafts made by U.S. community groups or fair trade gifts from developing countries. Give a nontangible gift, based on a donation to a non-profit: for example, Catholic Relief Service offers gifts that will provide education for children in poverty or will provide aid in poor countries.


3. Give a percentage of your Christmas gift budget to an organization working for a just society.


4. Give of yourself-something you made or created, or a coupon book for future services you will personally provide.


5. Draw names in your giving circle, rather than everyone giving a gift to everyone else. Set a price ceiling.


This is taken from a longer resource provided by Education for Justice. For this and many other resources, become a member of the website. Click here for information about joining.