Fr Vincent's reflections on the 2nd Sunday of Advent
John the Baptist appeared in the Judean wilderness 2000 years ago, proclaiming the need to repent and prepare for the coming the Messiah. The same message applies to us today. Are we listening? Are you and I willing to repent of our sins and prepare ourselves spiritually for Jesus in 2020 A.D.?
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Read the text:
Second Sunday of Advent 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Second Sunday of Advent, let us pray:
Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As always, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is Mark 1:1-8.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
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.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
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.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist is a familiar character to all of us during the Advent season, proclaiming a message or repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Dressed in camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey is not just weird for us; he would have appeared strange to the people of his time as well. And that’s what got their attention. Someone does not “stick out” unless he wants attention. John needed people to hear his message.
For you and me in 2020, John the Baptist might only be an historical figure from the time of Jesus. We might think his message was for the people of 30 A.D., and we read it only to learn the history of Jesus’ coming to the people of Israel. If John is only a person who lived in the past and whose message is time-bound, then we are missing something essential about this weekend’s prayers and Scriptures.
From the Old Testament, the People of Israel were promised that the prophet Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah to prepare the people to welcome their savior. That is why, even today, with the Passover celebration, Jewish families set an empty place at table for Elijah to come. Spiritually, they want his return to happen in a real way. Jesus said this about John the Baptist: “if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come.” (Matt 11:14).
Because of Christianity’s Jewish origins, we must be ready to share their sense of “timelessness.” That means because God is eternal and not time-bound, His word and message is also not merely historical, but is meant to be real and necessary for every person in every generation. John the Baptist is the prophet Elijah, who comes before the Messiah, Jesus Christ, even in 2020, to tell me and you that WE must repent and prepare ourselves for his arrival!
Therefore, this second week of Advent is an opportunity for us to reflect on whether or not we are too absorbed with earthly worries and concerns which can distract us from our spiritual preparation. Effectively, this week we need to “clean up our act.” From the first week, we have focused on being more attentive to our prayer life and more conscious of our need to be generous toward others. Now, we include the efforts to avoid anything sinful – the Opening Prayer says: “may no earthly undertaking hinder.” Plus, we want to be spiritually open – the Prayer adds: “may our learning of heavenly wisdom.” So that we can see Christ when he appears to us, even now, day by day, because as the Prayer says: we want to “gain . . . admittance to his company.”
John the Baptist is speaking to me and you this week, and we need to receive and act on his message if this Advent will be what we need truly to be ready for Christmas. Take time for an examination of conscious and prepare to seek God’s forgiveness through the Sacra-ment of Reconciliation. Our Advent Reconciliation Service will be Wednesday, December 16, at 6:30 pm at Sacred Heart in Gramercy. We will have five (5) priests for Confession.
You can even pick up your Bible and start reading the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke’s gospels, prayerfully asking how this historical event can transcend time, as does John’s message, so that you are ready spiritually for the “birth” of Jesus in your life in 2020. There is much we can do during Advent to be renewed spiritually and truly prepared for the Messiah, the Christ, to come.
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.