Sunday, December 10, 2023
GROW AS A DISCIPLE | PRAY, STUDY, ENGAGE SERVE
by The Faithful Disciple
GROW: Can you hear it? The voice crying out in the desert? While John the Baptist was the one literally proclaiming, from the desert, the coming of the Lord, we should listen for echoes of his message today. John foretold that Jesus – the Father’s Incarnate Son – was on his way to redeem the world. Through Jesus’ passion and death, the gates of heaven were flung open so all who believe in him would have eternal life. This is the Good News he proclaimed then, and the Church proclaims today: Christ has come! Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. This is what we prepare for in Advent – to celebrate, on Christmas day, Christ’s coming into the world, and that he will one day return in glory. The Lord gives comfort to his people in his words, and in his presence to us in the Eucharist: “According to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” So, trust in the Lord, remain vigilant, and take heed of the voices that remind us to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
GO EVANGELIZE | PRAYER, INVITATION, WITNESS, ACCOMPANIMENT
GO: Each year, we are given the gift of Advent. It is a season that invites us to slow down, reflect on the gift of Jesus and prepare to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. Ironically, though, it happens at one of the most frenzied times of the year as we rush to keep up with cookie baking, tree decorating and merry-making. Advent is short – it includes four Sundays but can be three to four weeks long depending on the weekday upon which Christmas falls – and it sometimes doesn’t seem long enough to truly prepare our hearts. This year Advent is three weeks and a day – so we are close to reaching the midway point, which is a good time to ask ourselves: How tuned in are we to John the Baptist’s message? If we feel like we’re being carried along in a wave of consumerism, it’s not too late to make a course correction. We can step away from the fray and carve out time to enjoy the stillness of Advent and truly listen to the voice crying out in the desert.
Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.
On this Second Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of the importance of preparation for the coming of our Lord. The Gospel passage from Mark 1:1-8 calls us to reflect on the role of John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus.
John the Baptist, as we hear in the Gospel, appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He was the voice crying out in the desert, preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. His message was one of repentance and conversion, urging the people to turn away from their sins and prepare their hearts for the arrival of the Savior.
In our own lives, we are called to imitate John the Baptist by preparing the way for Jesus in our hearts. Advent is a time of reflection and renewal, a time to examine our lives and make changes where necessary. It is a time to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, so that we may be ready to receive the grace and mercy of our Lord.
Just as John the Baptist called the people to repentance, we too are called to examine our lives and turn away from sin. We are called to make a sincere and heartfelt confession, seeking reconciliation with God and with one another. Through the sacrament of reconciliation, we can experience the healing and forgiveness that Jesus offers 1.
In addition to repentance, John the Baptist also pointed to the coming of Jesus, the one who is mightier than he. John recognized that he was not the Messiah, but rather the one who prepared the way for the Messiah. He humbly acknowledged his role and directed the people’s attention to Jesus.
Similarly, we are called to direct our attention to Jesus during this Advent season. We are called to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness and commercialism of the season, but we must remember that Jesus is the reason for our celebration. Let us take time to reflect on the gift of Jesus’ birth and prepare our hearts to welcome him.
As we continue our journey through Advent, let us heed the message of John the Baptist. Let us repent of our sins, seek forgiveness, and prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord. May we imitate John’s humility and point others to Jesus, the one who brings salvation and eternal life. May this Advent season be a time of spiritual renewal and preparation, so that when Christmas arrives, we may truly celebrate the birth of our Savior with joy and gratitude.
May this Advent season be a time of spiritual renewal and preparation, so that we may welcome our Lord with open hearts and experience the joy of his presence in our lives.
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek.”
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!”