John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Welcome as we enter the second week of our new Church year and this Advent.

Last week, Prime Bishop elaborated on Advent as a transitional time between a focus on the last things, being ready for Jesus’ return at the end of time and our need for personal preparation right now so we may best welcome Jesus anew into our lives.

As St. Paul noted in our Epistle last week, we are prepared for this task of readiness by the enriching grace we have in our knowledge of Jesus. Paul reminded us that we have this time to focus on what we have learned about Jesus and the opportunity to put that knowledge into action.

This week calls us deeper into the active engagement we are to have as the people of Christ – Christians. Today, Peter sets the stage regarding the kind of people we are to be, a people: conducting ourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.

Now it may occur to us – how do we hasten God along? Besides what we might think, it is the actual work we are to do in building the Kingdom of God so the saying Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus will come to fruition.

We build the Kingdom by this: taking action that contributes to the purposes of God here and now, in our community, among friends, family, and coworkers. Among the many Kingdom building actions we need to engage in are: Evangelism: bringing people into the kingdom; Benevolence: showing the love of God to others through our charity and kindness; Having godly relationships that show the reality of the kingdom by example.; Encouraging love and good deeds; Building up knowledge of God by study, reading of scripture, and practice; Regular worship; Carrying out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and… Doing all in the Name of the Lord, being dedicated to Him.

The Oxford Dictionary tells us that fruition is the point at which a plan or project is realized and the action of producing fruit occurs. Indeed, Advent is about that. The Blessed Virgin carries within her the fruitfulness that will save us all. So too, like John we must go out and proclaim a fruitful message: Prepare yourselves, Christ is in our midst, and He waits for you. Join me in knowing Him.


Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Throughout this Lent we are delving into the problem of sin and are using our study to set strategies that move us from self-centeredness and spiritual shortcoming to a life deep in line with the life of Jesus.

Throughout this Lent we are walking through the seven deadly sins and their antidote, the seven contrary virtues. We are studying contemporary examples of sin in TV, film and literature. In studying, we find what is required of us. In doing what is required we grow stronger. Having grown stronger, we will walk out of Lent armed with God’s grace and we will overcome!

Last week we covered pride, the first and core deadly sin. As we said, that sin is foundational to all the others. Today we cover Envy.

Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation. We engage in envy because we see others as so much luckier, smarter, more attractive, and better than we are. Of course, this stems from the pride we take in our own perceptions rather than the reality of others’ lives. If we take the time to set envy aside and learn about, empathize with, and care for others we will quickly learn that our envy is unfounded. By way of example, we have all heard that talented handsome actor or beautiful actress tell someone, much later in their career, ‘I thought I was ugly and untalented.’

Looking to television, in Gilligan’s Island, Mary Ann was the symbol of envy. She felt – and key on felt – that she could never achieve Ginger’s glamour. The interesting fact is that those characters, those sins, were portrayed on a castaway island. Sin indeed separates us and keeps us apart, abandoned, and lonely. In that, we nurse our envy.

Ok, I have to throw in SpongeBob – where envy is perfectly exemplified by Plankton. He was so envious of others that he never saw their struggle, he never came into relationship with anyone else.

The cure for envy is charity and kindness. We see in Jesus’ instruction on the vine that we are all part of Him, that His father cares for each of us, and that we need to be pruned from time-to-time. In pruning we feel some pain and that is our tool to overcome envy – to take the time to really know our neighbor, understand them, and support them in their struggles, to feel their pain. To do so with kindness and in the end to be truly fruitful