Welcome to the 2nd Sunday in Advent

This Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in Advent, we light another purple candle to represent the hope of Jesus coming into the world. As discussed last week, Advent is a time for preparation. It is a time when we as Catholic Christians prepare ourselves to welcome the coming of the Lord into humanity. In this week’s Gospel we begin to hear about “God’s Messenger” and his role in our salvation history. John the Baptist, chosen to be the messenger for God proclaims:

“Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

Interesting statement when we consider the message sent to us last week to “Be watchful! Be alert”. Now the “Kingdom of God is at hand”. Meaning now is the time for us to “prepare the way for the Lord”. It’s happening. God is going to become one of us to lead us back to the Father and to forgive our sins. I can’t imagine what the people of that time thought when they saw John the Baptist. The description of him in the Gospel of Mark is:

“John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey.”

So here is this guy living in the desert, dressed in camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey. If we came across someone like that in today’s world we would probably just shake our heads and keep walking. His message though certainly brings attention to him. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

he will prepare your way.

A voice of one crying out in the desert:

“Prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight his paths.

7 And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.”

8 “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”

So after seeing what he looks like, and now listening to what he is saying i am sure the initial view from many was that he was crazy, but this is how God works. He sometimes chooses what we perceive as the least likeliest of people to do the heavy lifting. This is truly the case with John the Baptist. Who is this person to speak like this? How would he know who is coming and how does he know their kingdom of God is “at hand”? What does that even mean? We just celebrated “The Annunciation”. What did Mary do immediately after Jesus was conceived in her womb? She goes and visits Elizabeth – the mother of John the Baptist. An interesting point comes out in Luke 1:41:

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit

42 cried out in a loud voice and said “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”.

John the Baptist as an infant recognizes the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb and “leaped”. Many believe this is when John received the Holy Spirit and was commissioned with his place in salvation history. I think there is another underlying lesson here in the fact that we should never judge people in general, but based in his appearance and some of the things he was saying its easy to dismiss him, yet God decided that John would be the messenger to fulfill what Isaiah prophesied above:

Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

He will prepare your way.

A voice of one crying out out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

Very interesting reading this week. We see the story unfolding before us, we are starting to see what was prophesied in the Old Testament come true, we are all encouraged to “repent” and to “prepare the way of the Lord”, and we are told to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. After this Sunday we are halfway through Advent. How is your Advent going? Feel free to share.

God Bless

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