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DEC. 6. ADVENT. WK 2. SUN. (B) MK. 1. 1-8

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The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;

he will prepare your way.

A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.


And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’


Clearly the central message of this reading is the decision by Almighty God to send messengers to guide and teach his people, something he has done since the dawn of creation via people like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, and others; - in fact, God has never left us “alone”, but has always “accompanied his people” on their journey of life.


And this is exactly what the season of Advent is highlighting, namely the future arrival in Bethlehem of God’s ultimate, and final Prophet and messenger; - Jesus Christ; - the Son of God; - and the end of the Old Testament.


If only we could get our heads around this truth, that the Church is constantly reminding us of; - that God has sent the ultimate Prophet, his Son, to be our teacher, our guide and our saviour; - and yet we have so many other earthly interests we barely give Jesus Christ the time of day?


Sadly, the main reason for this is we lack an awareness of our need for a Divine teacher, and we see ourselves as well able of living our earthly life without either assistance or guidance; - sentiments that are founded on Pride and Self-love.


These sentiments “cause” us to act independently of our Creator, and to see ourselves as being capable of living our lives the way we want. We believe we have no need of a “messenger” or teacher, or Redeemer; - as we know “how we want to live!”


The very fact we have these opposing views means one of us is wrong; - either ourselves, or our Creator! God believes we need a Redeemer and Teacher, and so he sent us one!


The problem is many of us do not agree, and so we do not give Christ’s Teachings the attention they deserve; - preferring to heed “the message of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil”; - while largely ignoring the message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!


What a sad and tragic situation? The creature believes he has no need to heed the message of the Son of God; - nor to ponder the example and teachings of his life?


Advent provides us with a yet another invitation, and opportunity, to rectify this situation; - to amend our lives and heed the teachings of our the Son of God. A change that will require Humility, Mortification, Charity, Prayer and Sacrament; - teachings in accord with what John the Baptist, Christ, his Church, and the Saints tell us when they invite us, yet again, to “Repent”!


Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4,6


Alleluia, alleluia!

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:

all people shall see the salvation of God.

Alleluia!


First reading Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it


‘Console my people, console them’

says your God.

‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem

and call to her

that her time of service is ended,

that her sin is atoned for,

that she has received from the hand of the Lord

double punishment for all her crimes.’


A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness

a way for the Lord.

Make a straight highway for our God

across the desert.

Let every valley be filled in,

every mountain and hill be laid low.

Let every cliff become a plain,

and the ridges a valley;

then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed

and all mankind shall see it;

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’


Go up on a high mountain,

joyful messenger to Zion.

Shout with a loud voice,

joyful messenger to Jerusalem.

Shout without fear,

say to the towns of Judah,

‘Here is your God.’


Here is the Lord coming with power,

his arm subduing all things to him.

The prize of his victory is with him,

his trophies all go before him.

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,

gathering lambs in his arms,

holding them against his breast

and leading to their rest the mother ewes.


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 84(85):9-14


Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.


I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people.

His help is near for those who fear him

and his glory will dwell in our land.


Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.


Mercy and faithfulness have met;

justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.


Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.


The Lord will make us prosper

and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.


Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.


THE LESSONS FROM TODAY.


There is a standout feature of all the Mystical Body readings of Advent, and that is they are all talking of events that are to come in the future! Obviously this was the role of the Prophets in the Old Testament; - but how appropriate these same readings are to the Mystical Body of Christ in Advent; - when we are asked to prepare, yet again, for a 'new' coming; - a 'new' opportunity; - a 'new' invitation!


"Console my people, console them says your God; - speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service (work - atonement) is ended. She has received her punishment" ... Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger, shout without fear, say to the people of Jerusalem; - 'Here is your God, Here is the Lord, coming in power, his arm subduing all things!"


Even the response to the Psalm; - "Let us see your kindness, and grant us you salvation." It carries an implication the experience of God's kindness is hidden from us, and is yet to be revealed. As if it is something we all have to wait for; - which we do, as the glory of God's kindness is yet to be fully revealed.


And then, in the Gospel, the message is powerful; - "I am going to send my messenger who will prepare the way; - He will be a voice in the wilderness; 'prepare a way for the Saviour; - make his paths straight!'"


These calls to prepare; - to be ready; - are real and we need to heed them and be active because we still have time to amend our lives while we are on this earth. Yet so many ignore this call; - probably the most important "call" we will ever receive; - saying to themselves; - "Not this same call again .... I have heard it so many times... what is it all about?"


It is about your eternal salvation my dear Christian; - and you cannot afford to ignore it!!


PRAYER.


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,

God, for ever and ever.


SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. YEAR C.


Gospel Luke 3:1-6

The call of John the Baptist


In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:


A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord,

make his paths straight.

Every valley will be filled in,

every mountain and hill be laid low,

winding ways will be straightened

and rough roads made smooth.

And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 125(126)


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,

it seemed like a dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

on our lips there were songs.


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels

the Lord worked for them!’

What marvels the Lord worked for us!

Indeed we were glad.


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage

as streams in dry land.

Those who are sowing in tears

will sing when they reap.


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


They go out, they go out, full of tears,

carrying seed for the sowing:

they come back, they come back, full of song,

carrying their sheaves.


The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


Second reading Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

May you become pure and blameless in preparation for the day of Christ


Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.















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