Second Sunday in Advent - B - December 10, 2023
The Second Sunday in Advent always presents the figure of the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for the Christ. The prophecies of Malachi, Isaiah, and Exodus were also used by the Essence community in Qumran to explain their reason for being, so the concepts of desert preparation were culturally "in the air." It is possible that early Christians adopted these references from John's disciples about the Baptist, then applied his ministry to Jesus of Nazareth. Nonetheless, the appearance of John marked stepping stone toward the Christian faith.
FIRST READING Imagine what it would feel like to be free after a life of prison. Certainly, emotions would be mixed. Exhilaration with anxiety, joy with apprehension. Isaiah spoke words of freedom to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. God would come and save them!
PSALM Psalm 85 is a song of extreme confidence in the Lord. What he did once, he will do again!
SECOND READING What will the future bring? The era of confidence in progress is over. Most people hunker down in the face of coming events. Do we? 1 Peter spoke of fire and brimstone in the future. Yet, a closer look at that reading reveals a hope in a better life, a life beyond this world.
GOSPEL The opening lines of St. Mark's gospel presented John the Baptist, the one who would announce the immanent appearance of the Messiah.
DAILY READINGS for the First Week in Advent.
FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION December 8, 2023
CHILDREN'S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Juan disappointed his mother (and himself) with his grades. He worked hard, only to receive average marks. Then, a phone call from school changes everything, just like the words of Second Isaiah to captives in Babylon. In the story for the gospel, Jasmine sought a time of solace from the holiday rush. She found that time of peace around the family table during Advent prayers. A time of peace is important for us as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.
CATECHISM LINK In this week's Catechism Link, we discuss John the Baptist, his message, and his relationship with Jesus.
FAMILY ACTIVITY John the Baptist came to connect people to the Messiah. It's that time of year to connect with others. Make Christmas cards a family tradition. That way, the family can draw closer together.