Sunday, 6 December 2020 – Second Sunday of Advent
Exploring the Word
The prophet Isaiah brought a message of hope and comfort
to the people of Israel who were in exile in Babylon. Despite their failings, God is merciful and has promised them a new beginning. John the Baptist appears in the line of that great prophet and again promises Israel the chance of a new beginning if they repent and turn again towards God.
The emphasis in Mark’s portrait of the Baptist is very much
that of the subordinate. John’s self-effacing manner makes it
clear that he is not the one who is promised, but the one who
is to prepare the way. The emphasis in John’s preaching is on judgment; for Jesus it is the reign of God and salvation.
Did you know?
- John the Baptist is a prominent figure in Mark’s Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel, he is portrayed as a cousin of Jesus, but in the other gospels he seems not to know the identity of Jesus and no family connection is mentioned.
- John’s clothing of homespun camel hair tied with a leather thong around the waist is the explicit garb of a prophet.
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,”‘ John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair; with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Weekly Readings: 9 November 2020 Weekly Readings: 16 November 2020 Weekly Readings: 30 November 2020
Reflections from Fr Bernie
Where Is God in a Pandemic?
Please click on the image for a great article by James Martin, recommended from Fr Bernie to read during these times…