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.’
Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent
Ansd with what confidence and assurance Mark’s Gospel begins.
So much of the Gospel is concerned with challenge, failure, confusion and ambiguity, but there is no doubt that Mark is very clear about the importance of what he speaks and of whom he speaks. This is Gospel, and this is about the Son of God, and it is fulfilment of prophecy.
And the Gospel begins with ALL responding to John, welcoming the one who prepares the way, ALL of Judaea and ALL of Jerusalem make their way to him.
What follows in the 16 chapters of this the shortest Gospel demonstrates how hard it is for many of these to accept the newness of the Gospel and to let go of old ways that hide the glory of God and thwart his will.
As then, so now… We may find ourselves to be faithful to our religion and its expectations, but are we faithful to the love of God and neighbour? That’s the question.
- So, are you, and how do you know?
- If you are not, and are ashamed of that, then this is the Gospel for you, to encourage repentance and to instil fresh hope and even courage…
John the Baptist. St John Lateran, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris