Saturday, December 06, 2014
Second Sunday of Advent
December 7, 2014
Second Sunday of Advent
Is 40: 1-5, 9-11/ Ps 85: 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 (8) / 2 Pt 3: 8-14 / Mk 1: 1-8
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Be comforted, my people, be strengthened, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, proclaim to her that her time of bondage is at an end, that her guilt has been paid for, that from the hand of Yahweh she has received double punishment for all her iniquity.
A voice cries, "In the wilderness prepare the way for Yahweh. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley will be raised up; every mountain and hill will be laid low. The stumbling blocks shall become level and the rugged places smooth. The glory of Yahweh will be revealed, and all mortals together will see it; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken." Go up onto the high mountain, messenger of Zion, lift up your voice with strength, fear not to cry aloud when you tell Jerusalem and announce to the cities of Judah: Here is your God. Here comes your God of might; his strong arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and here before him is his booty. Like a shepherd he tends his flock; he gathers the lambs in his arms, he carries them in his bosom, gently leading those that are with young.
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Do not forget, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord does not delay in fulfilling his promise, though some speak of delay; rather he gives you time because he does not want anyone to perish, but that all may come to conversion. The Day of the Lord is to come like a thief. Then the heavens will dissolve with a great noise; the elements will melt away by fire, and the earth with all that is on it will be burned up. Since all things are to vanish, how holy and religious your way of life must be, as you wait for the Day of God and long for its coming, when the heavens will dissolve in fire and the elements melt away in the heat. We wait for a new heaven and a new earth in which justice reigns, according to God's promise. Therefore, beloved, as you wait in expectation of this, strive that God may find you rooted in peace, without blemish or fault.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
This is the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of Isaiah, the prophet, "I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way. Let the people hear the voice calling in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, level his paths." So John began to baptize in the desert; he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judea and all the people from the city of Jerusalem went out to John to confess their sins and be baptized by him in the river Jordan. John was clothed in camel's hair and wore a leather garment around his waist. His food was locusts and honey. He preached to the people saying: "After me comes one who is more powerful than I am; I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. As for me, I am not worthy to bend down and untie his sandals."
The gospel of Mark, the earliest of the canonical gospels, begins with the ministry of John the Baptist, the precursor of the Messiah, whose role was to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, to prepare for "one who is more powerful," for the one whose sandals he was "not worthy to bend down and untie."
John's role was what the prophet Isaiah had written centuries earlier about the salvation and Savior that God was to give to his people. Isaiah spoke metaphorically of preparing the perfect place: leveling mountains and hills, filling up valleys, making straight paths and roads in the desert, removing stumbling blocks and smoothing out rugged places. God's salvation brings peace and plenty to all.
Coming from a life of quiet, prayer and mortification in the desert, John preached repentance for sins to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. He baptized in the Jordan as a sign of the cleansing from sin. As a "voice crying out in the desert," he urged those "with two coats to give one to the person who has none," "and if you have food, do the same"; he told tax collectors to "collect no more than your fixed rate"; he told soldiers not "to take anything by force or threaten the people by denouncing them falsely" and "to be content with their pay." John preached to people to repent and to "produce now the fruits of a true change of heart." He told the people of his preparatory role, "I baptize with water, but the one who is coming will do much more: he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
The first reading from Isaiah assures Israel that God is indeed coming, the God of power and might, the gentle God who will tend and watch over His flock. John's appearance prepared the people for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah: "Could he be the Messiah?" John even "reproached Herod for living with Herodias, his brother's wife, and for his evil deeds." For this, John was put in prison and would eventually die a martyr's death.
Advent for us is a time for repentance for sins and for "a true change for heart" that we may be ready and anxious to celebrate with joy and gratitude God's First Coming as a child in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem and that we may be found worthy to be placed on his right at the Lord's Second Coming and to be welcomed to "the kingdom prepared for us from the beginning of the world."
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for families who are in need of healing.
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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