Second Advent Sunday in year B

Posté par diaconos le 6 décembre 2020

Make the Lord’s paths straight

Deuxième dimanche du Temps de l'Avent dans l'année B dans Enseignement 20201206-01

John the Baptist is a major figure in Christianity and Islam. Historically, his existence is attested by a passage from Flavius Josephus, he was a Jewish preacher at the time of Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel according to John locates the activity of the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan River and in Bethany beyond the Jordan. Jesus lived for a time in his surroundings and recruited his first apostles there. The Synoptic Gospels synchronise the beginning of Jesus’ activity with John’s imprisonment. The audience of this apocalyptic prophet was so large that Herod Antipas, who saw him gathering his followers, feared that he might provoke a revolution. He was executed because he criticised Antipas’ marriage to Herodias. He is the prophet who announced the coming of Jesus of Nazareth. He baptised him on the banks of the Jordan. He is presented in the synoptics as sharing many features with the prophet Elijah. Roman Catholicism canonised him and dedicated two feasts to him: the 24th of June, which commemorates his birth, set six months before Christmas to conform to the childhood story of the Gospel according to Luke, and the 29th of August, which celebrates the memory of his beheading. He is considered by Islam to be a prophet descended from ‘Îmran

From the Gospel of St. Mark

Beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It was written in the book of the prophet Isaiah : « Behold, I send my messenger before you to prepare the way ». A voice cries out across the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his way. And John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness. He proclaimed a baptism of conversion for the forgiveness of sins. All Judea and Jerusalem came to him. All were baptized by him in the waters of the Jordan, acknowledging their sins.

John was dressed in camel hair, with a leather belt around his loins, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, « Behold, he who is mightier than I come after me. I am not worthy to bend at his feet to undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit. (Mk 1, 1-8)

John the Baptist appeared in the desert. He proclaimed a baptism of conversion

John the Baptist, the Precursor, is the son of the priest Zechariah and Elizabeth, a relative of the Virgin Mary. Because of Elizabeth’s sterility, the couple had no children : both were old and had prayed long and hard for children. While Zechariah was officiating in the Temple in Jerusalem, the angel Gabriel brought him the announcement of the birth of the one who would be the Forerunner.

Then the archangel said to him : « Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your supplication has been heard: your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son for you, and you shall call his name John. « (Lk 1, 13) This name, derived from the first name Yehohanan, meaning « God has given grace », is an unusual name in the family (Lk 1, 61). During the circumcision of this child, Zechariah sang a song of blessing for the coming of the Saviour announced since the prophets of the Old Testament.


Let us remain vigilant in the face of the various events of our existence

Today, as the curtain rises on the divine drama, we can already hear the voice of someone proclaiming : « Prepare the way of the Lord, make his way straight » (Mk 1, 3). Today we meet John the Baptist who is preparing the stage for the coming of Jesus. Some believed that John was the true Messiah. He spoke like the ancient prophets, saying that man must come out of sin to flee from punishment and return to God to find mercy. But this was a message for all times and all places, and John proclaimed it in an emergency.

And so a river of people came running from Jerusalem and from all Judea to flood the desert to hear John preach it. Why did John attract so many men and women? No doubt he was denouncing Herod and the religious leaders, an act of courage that fascinated the common people. But at the same time, he did not spare them strong words: they too were sinners and had to repent.

And, confessing their sins, he baptised them in the Jordan River. This is why John the Baptist fascinated them, they understood the message of true repentance that he wanted to convey to them. A repentance that was something more than a confession of sins – in itself a great step forward and, indeed, very beautiful !

But also a repentance based on the belief that only God can both forgive and erase, extinguish the debt and remove the after-effects of it from my mind, straighten my moral path, so dishonest. « Do not waste this time of mercy offered by God », says St Gregory the Great. -Let us not spoil this moment, which is apt to imbue us with this purifying love that is offered to us, we may   helped the people to live for God, to understand that to live is to struggle to open the paths of virtue and to let God’s grace enliven their spirit with its joy.

John the Baptist’s baptism is a baptism that expresses the will to convert but remains a human gesture: the baptism given by Christ is the one that erases sin; it erases and purifies it by giving God’s grace and forgiveness. It is he, Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away sin. It is he who makes man the true, purified Son of God whose heart is totally turned towards God.

To remember that this purification is the work of God who fills me with the Holy Spirit : I will ask at every moment to know how to welcome this grace that is given to me for ever, in divine mercy.

Additional information at…

◊ Diaconos : click here to read the paper → Second Advent Sunday in year B

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Patway to God : click here to read the paper →  Second Sunday of Advent Year B

◊ Monasrety of Christ in the désert  : click here to read the paper →  Second Sunday of Advent, Year B

St Mark’s Lutheran Church

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