Theme:Conversion and New World.Advent, time of coming, time of expectation, time of waiting for the Lord. In our waiting, we are with Mary as she waits for the birth of the Saviour. We are also helped by two prophets, Isaiah and John the Baptist. They have one word for us: Prepare! Prepare the way of the Lord! Level the humps and the bumps. Fill the pot-holes. Do a job for God in your heart.
His words call out to us from the Gospel: Prepare the way of the Lord. Clear away the obstacles. Fill in what is missing. Open up to the Lord.
First Reading:Isaiah 40:1-5.9-11;
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85;
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14;
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8;
*The Sunday Missal, Paulines Publications Africa
*Painting: Poster No. 53, Pentecost – by S. Ajak Bullen
Coming up to Christmas, in many places, is the time for parties.
Will the Lord be welcome at ours? Or is it just an excuse for getting drunk again. You always seem to have that cash ready for a drink, even ready to stand a drink. But already today children and mother have been told: Sorry no money. Bills were to be paid. Food was to be bought, even Christmas presents, but no money. Yet you are here today, and it is Jesus the Lord himself who is saying just what he wants. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rv 3:20). Today, Jesus wants to let us know just how much he cares, just how much he wants to be our friend.
Perhaps even here he is calling out, but with the very quiet voice of an unborn child, maybe even unwelcome, maybe even marked for destruction, not by Herod, but by the one who should be nearest and dearest. How easily what is so small and weak can be despised! Yet St Augustine says: “Because God has become human, no one may now despise any human.”
We may easily add: Because God has become child, no one may now despise any child. And again: Because God has become baby in the womb, no one may now despise any unborn baby in the womb. Do not kill. Do not destroy any human being. Do not destroy any child. Do not destroy any unborn child. Because what is unborn is a child, what is unborn is a human being. We are preparing for Jesus. And what does he say: Anyone who receives, who welcomes, one of those little ones, welcomes me. But it goes not only for the unborn, but for all, children, teenagers, mothers and fathers, friends and strangers. Jesus is coming. Yes, he is coming to us from all directions.
See how Mary and Joseph accepted the most unexpected. They will help us to open our hearts, to prepare the way, to pray with open hearts:
Lord, Oh that you might rend the heavens open and come down.
“Prepare the way of the Lord.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 85:9ab and 10.11-12.13-14 (R. 8)
R:Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and grant us your salvation.I will hear what the Lord God speaks; he speaks of peace for his people and his faithful, His salvation is near for those who fear him, and his glory will dwell in our land.
R: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and grant us your salvation. Merciful love and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have kissed. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth, and justice look down from heaven.
R: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and grant us your salvation.Also the Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase. Justice will march before him, and guide his steps on the way.
R: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and grant us your salvation.
2 Peter 3:8-14
“We wait for new heavens and a new earth.”
A reading from the second Letter of Saint Peter
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burnt up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
The word of the Lord.
Alleluia. Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight; all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.
“Make straight the paths of the Lord.”
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 send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather belt around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptised you with water; but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B
*Adapted from: “Bible Study and Sharing on the Gospel of Matthew for Christian Communities”, by Richard Baawobr M.Afr — Paulines Publications Africa, 2016.