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Showing posts with label Epistle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Epistle. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Homily - The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

First Reading – Deuteronomy 18:15-20 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:16

The Gospel According to Mark 1:21 – 28 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The priesthood, any priesthood, perhaps every priesthood that ever was, none of them were ordained by God, but by human beings. Priests and priesthoods, both were ordained to serve the interests of human beings, typically those of the ruling class, most often their own. Even those individuals who are well intentioned serve human motivations, even when they come close to approximating the divine, it is only the pale image of the divine they hold in their hearts that they are attempting and most often failing to approximate.

 

There are no prophets, there is no prophecy, there are only human beings. Human beings have the innate ability to perceive and recognize what is true. But we are all, each of us compromised; every expression of the truth coming from a human being is conditioned by that compromise, and therefore it is necessarily flawed, and yet despite these flaws we sometimes do good work, but because of these flaws all human works are suspect.

 

Listen to the psalmist!

 

It is God who makes us well, who creates in us the possibility of wellbeing. God is our wellbeing, but God is not a king, and there are no other gods.

 

All of creation belongs to God, all that is good and all that frightens us; everything, no matter how distressing or troubling, everything comes from God and will redound to the good.

 

It is good to show our respect for the creator and to sing songs in praise of God, remember! Always remember that God is our loving parent, and has prepared each of us for the divine  blessing.

 

Be mindful!

 

Even the apostle is liable to asserting his personal beliefs and foibles into the rubrics of the Church. Not everything he says should be accepted on its face as wise and good.

 

Paul believed that people should withdraw from public life, stop procreation and wait on God to deliver humanity from the miseries of the world. If he could have, he would have had all of us living chaste and celibate lives behind the walls of the cloister, men living with men and women living with women.

 

The apostle errs, but the church is not obligated to follow him in this error, the more humble thing would be to acknowledge the truth and move on.

 

This is the truth:

 

It is the desire of God, the creator of the universe, it is the desire of God that we follow the way that Jesus taught, to be merciful, love justice and walk humbly all the days of our life, to prosper and multiply.

 

Know this!

 

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they are, and have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s illustrates.

 

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

 

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing from us. The truth is in the open for anyone to see. The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love.

 

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike? In every generation, you will see a new group labeling the elder group as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt. It is an endless cycle, and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God through the loving service you provide to one another: your family, your friend, your neighbor, the stranger, even your enemy.

 

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the Church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

 

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus. What matters is what is in your heart and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope.

 

When you speak from the scriptures be careful.

 

When you observe the authors attempting to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction about the future, be wary; this is always a falsehood.

 

Even if a prediction had been made, and even if Jesus did the thing that was predicted, it is a false narrative to suggest that Jesus’ actions were in fulfillment of prophecy.

 

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope and to warn of danger.

 

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in the cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice, which is itself unchanging.

 

Know this!

 

The Gospel writers were propagandists; they fabricated many of the details of Jesus’ life. They fabricated those details to suit their narrative about who Jesus was, why he was necessary, and what his life and death meant for the early church.

 

In this narrative the Gospel writers place Jesus directly in the tradition of John the Baptist, with the words “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

 

This is a continuation of that narrative, meant to harness the energy of John’s movement, after his arrest and murder.

 

Consider the Gospel for today, it is packed with nuance.

 

Begin by unpacking:

 

This is the first record of Jesus in his ministry as a public teacher.

 

He is still in Palestine but he has travelled to the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He is beyond the borders of Judea, half-way between Jerusalem and Damascus.

 

He gives his teaching in a synagogue, indicating his status as a Rabbi. The synagogues belong to the diaspora, Jewish communities outside of the Holy Land. Synagogues are the seat of the Pharisaic sect of Judaism, and Rabbis are teachers in that movement. Pharisees are a distinct group of teachers; they promulgate the law. They are different from the Scribes, and the priests of the temple. All of these distinctions are communicated in the opening paragraph:

 

Jesus the Pharisee, Jesus the Rabbi is teaching with authority, unlike the Scribes in Jerusalem.

 

One man calls him out. Not because he is possessed by demons, but because he afraid of what Jesus’ teaching represents.

 

He asks a good question, “What do you have to do with us?” This indicates that Jesus is an outsider.

 

He asks, “Are you here to destroy us?” This indicates that he perceives Jesus’ teaching to be a threat to the established order, and therefore quite possibly to his entire community.

 

He addresses the claim that Jesus’ followers are promoting, that he is the “Holy One of God.” He asserts this in an unfriendly manner, quite possibly as a charge against Jesus: a charge of hubris at the least, though it is potentially a charge of blasphemy.

 

By raising this charge he intends to undermine Jesus’ authority in the synagogue. Jesus commands the man to silence, and Jesus prevails. This scene is depicted dramatically in the gospel, as if Jesus were commanding an unclean spirit to come out of the man, a spirit of disobedience and falsehood. It is presented as Jesus casting out a demon or demons, and healing a man who was possessed. Though it should be presented as Jesus commanding his authority to convert a dissident into a believer.

 

The narrative does not depict a supernatural challenge to Jesus’ authority, but an ordinary challenge from a member of the community. It was not easy for Jesus to convince the man, it was a convulsive struggle, but Jesus prevailed; he prevailed because the community had been ready to receive Jesus’ teaching at the outset, and his victory in the disputation with the man who argued with him, how he managed the situation as a healer bolstered his authority all the more.

 

Be like Jesus in your ministry, be a healer; it is the best way to serve the interests of the divine.

 

 

First Reading – Deuteronomy 18:15-20 ©

 

I Will Raise Up a Prophet and Put My Words into His Mouth

 

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen. This is what you yourselves asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly. “Do not let me hear again” you said “the voice of the Lord my God, nor look any longer on this great fire, or I shall die”; and the Lord said to me, “All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him. The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

 

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;

  hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks,

  with songs let us hail the Lord.

 

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

Come in; let us bow and bend low;

  let us kneel before the God who made us:

for he is our God and we

  the people who belong to his pasture,

  the flock that is led by his hand.

 

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

O that today you would listen to his voice!

  ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

  as on that day at Massah in the desert

when your fathers put me to the test;

  when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

 

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

 

Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ©

 

Give Your Undivided Attention to the Lord

 

I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter round your necks, but simply to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:16

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Mark 1:21 – 28 ©

 

Unlike the Scribes, He Taught Them with Authority

 

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

 

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

 

 

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)




Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Homily - The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)

First Reading – 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-5, 27, 29 ©

Second Reading – Romans 16:25-27 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 1:38

The Gospel According to Luke 1:26 – 38 ©


(NJB)



The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)



All people of good faith should be mindful of this:


God, the creator of the universe; God does not appoint kings.


God dwells in all places at all times, and there is no place where God is not. There is no heart that God does not speak to, no people that God does not love.


God was never confined to a tent, nor ever to a temple. God does not favor kings or their sons. God is not a royalist.


God does not speak to God’s servants in words, like the words that I write here.


Strike these ideas and the myths that perpetuate them from the sacred text, they represent the vanity of human beings and nothing more.


The sacred texts are not a good place for nationalism and jingoism.


We must reject this language wherever we find it!


God, the creator of the universe, God does not favor one person over another, one family, one tribe, one nation.


God is a God of love and mercy, not a God of palace intrigues, not a God of battles.



God, the creator of the universe, God is wise. We are each created in the divine image, and God’s wisdom resides there, like a seed, the whole is in the part. 


Jesus exemplified this. He did not exemplify how faith (which means trust in the divine plan), made him obedient, but how faith (his trust in God) freed him to do what he knew in his heart was right.


God does not wish us to be servants and slaves, but partners in in the a ministry of justice and mercy.


Consider the Gospel reading for today.


Whatever the truth is regarding the birth of Jesus, known by his family Joshua son of Joseph, we may say this the way, which he preached is not served by false narratives.


The stories of Jesus’ birth, the annunciation as we have it presented here, these are myths. If we read them literally we are perpetuating propaganda and lies.


God is truth, and the way of God is not served by such prevarications.



First Reading – 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16 ©


Your House and Your Sovereignty will Always Stand Secure Before Me


Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’


But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:


‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

 


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-5, 27, 29 ©


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;

  through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.

Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,

  that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.


‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

  I have sworn to David my servant:

I will establish your dynasty for ever

  and set up your throne through all ages.


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.


‘He will say to me: “You are my father,

  my God, the rock who saves me.”

I will keep my love for him always;

  with him my covenant shall last.’


I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.



Second Reading – Romans 16:25-27 ©


The Mystery is Revealed that was Kept Secret for Endless Ages


Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.



Gospel Acclamation – Luke 1:38


Alleluia, alleluia!


I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me.


Alleluia!



The Gospel According to Luke 1:26 – 38 ©


'I Am the Handmaid of the Lord'


The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.



The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)




Monday, December 7, 2020

A Homily - The Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)

First Reading – Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85): 9-14(Advent) ©

Second Reading – 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©

Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6

The Gospel According to Mark 1:1 - 8 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)

 

 

Consider the words of the prophet:

 

There is great hope expressed by Isaiah, a profound hope for the future wellness of all people,

As seen through his understanding of our common destiny as children of God, the creator of the universe. The prophet expresses certainty in regard to the expectation of atonement, not just for the people of Israel or the children of Judah, but for all people.

 

Be mindful!

 

This teaching serves as the principle foundation of the early church, and the whole of Christian faith accordingly.

 

John the Baptist, stood in the tradition of Isiah, his was a voice crying out in the wilderness; he called the faithful to action, instructing them to prepare the way. His was a voice of expectation instructing the faithful that the entire creation will bend to the will of God; every valley and every mountain, from the cliffs to the plains, everything will yield to God.

 

Furthermore, we are instructed to believe that despite the omnipotence of God, we are to regard the creator like a shepherd who feeds the flock, like a mother ewe among her children, not as a lord or a king or a general leading armies.

 

To be clear: Isaiah also speaks of God as the punisher, reminding the people of Judah of the punishment they have suffered for their crimes and of future punishments to come if they persist in their sinful ways.

 

Remember this, their crimes were crimes against the people, their crimes took place in the world. They made enemies among foreign powers and they suffered on account of their wickedness and vanity, and broken promises. They were not punished by God. The justice they encountered was the justice of human beings. It was harsh, it was painful, many people were slaughtered, many more were taken into captivity, but this was not the work of God, the creator; we know this  because God does not intervene in the affairs of the world.

 

In the midst of all the that the children of Israel and the people of Judah suffered came Isaiah, whose voice cried out in the wilderness, then came John followed by Jesus hundreds of years later, reminding the people that God is with them still, and that in the end all things will be resolved in love.

 

Listen!

 

God is the creator of the entire universe, everything belongs to God; all lands, all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone that is in them.

 

You should know that God did not end the captivity of the children of Israel, they did.

 

This is not hubris.

 

It is greater hubris to think that God loves a special people, one tribe above all others, it is much greater to think that than to think that the Israelites escaped bondage under their own power.

 

Know this!

 

God is never angry or indignant with the people,  neither does God rescue us from our plights or the miseries of the world; that is for us to do for ourselves, it is for us to do for each other.

 

Bear witness to Peter’s struggle.

 

His mission was to call people to holiness and to a just way of life. He spoke about the fruits of such a life and the reasonable expectation that if you live a good life good things will come to you…though if truth be told there is no guarantee of that.

 

Peter knew this.

 

Treating all people with goodness and mercy, telling the truth as best as you understand it, in no way does doing these things guarantee that you will be treated the same. Therefore we may understand that the divine promise is not that you will experience justice and mercy in this world, but that there will be justice and mercy in the next.

 

Peter had been preaching on this and the return of Jesus for many years, believing that the Church would usher in the new world of justice and grace, but two thousand years has gone by and it has not happened, not yet.

 

You should know that there are many people preaching the same message, not for the good of others but for their own enrichment, as the years and decades and centuries and millennia pass, the teaching on Christian hope has become elongated elongated, the expectation is no longer that you will receive justice in this life with the return of Jesus, but in eternity.

 

Be mindful!

 

God will bring the world to an end only when God’s purpose for the world has been fulfilled. Trust that God is loving and God is patient, and it is God’s desire to save everyone. It is God’s desire to leave no one behind, and that is the true foundation of Christian faith, in keeping with the tradition of Isaiah.

 

Read your histories. Though it has had a mixed record of success the Christian tradition has always attempted to root itself in historical realities.

 

The study of the Christian tradition gave birth to modern historical and literary criticism, without which, as a culture, we would have no understanding of the uses and limitations of history whatsoever.

 

Appreciate the fact that this took eighteen hundred years to develop.

 

Our narrative concerning the life and mission, the arrest and killing of Jesus are a part of the testimony of our faith. These stories helps us to locate in time the singular moment when our cultural commitment to the teachings of Jesus took place.

 

Through the liturgy we remember the rule of Tiberius, heir to Augustus, the Herodian dynasty and Pontius Pilate. We recall the role that Pilate played in killing of Jesus, we shout it out at every hour of every day in all parts of the world; that Jesus suffered under his hand, was crucified and buried. This story is told unceasingly and without end.

 

Be mindful!

 

It is long since time that we, as heirs to the ministry and teaching of Jesus, forgive Pilate for the role he played in that political murder.

 

John the Baptist taught us to repent and be forgiven, but Jesus taught us to simply forgive. He forgave those who killed him even as they were torturing him; and he asked God to forgive them when he was up on the cross breathing his last painful breaths. It is time we followed his example and did the same. The promise of Isaiah, which John echoed in the wilderness cannot be received by us unless and until we do.

 

Know this!

 

God is the author of our salvation but we are the agents of it, and it is incumbent on us to proceed with the healing, if the human race is to be healed.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

Isaiah did not predict the coming of John and Jesus. We know that this is true, because we believe that God, the creator of the universe, created us in freedom, and nothing in the world is pre-determined.

 

Isaiah’s movement took place over the course of a decade or more, its followers and proponents witnessed the collapse of David’s kingdom and the scattering of the Israel into the remote reaches of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.

 

Neither did John the Baptist predict the coming of Jesus, though he may have expressed the hope that someone like Jesus would come after him and continue his work.

 

In the time of John and Jesus the people of Judah and the children of Israel were in much the same place as they had been six hundred years earlier. They had rebuilt their cities, re-dug their wells and constructed a new temple in the land of their forebears, but they were still divided among themselves, factionalized and politically weak. They were still subject to foreign powers, and still subject to the capriciousness of kings.

 

John saw his death coming because he understood the political temper of the men and women in power in his day, like Jesus who came after him he accepted that death rather than risk the lives of his followers in a vain attempt to forestall the inevitable.

 

 

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(Advent) ©

 

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

 

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.

 

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

 

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

  justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

  and justice look down from heaven.

 

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

 

The Lord will make us prosper

  and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

  and peace shall follow his steps.

 

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

 

 

Second Reading – 2 Peter 3:8-14 ©

 

We Are Waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth

 

There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.

 

Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Mark 1:1 - 8 ©

 

A Voice Cries in the Wilderness: Prepare a Way for the Lord

 

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.’

 

 

The Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)