Mark 1: 1-8
John the Baptiser
The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
John the Baptiser appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptised by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptising you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
The Second Sunday of Advent is Bible Sunday, and the theme this year is ‘Welcome the Word’ . Getting ready to welcome Jesus, the living Word of God, is exactly what we need to do during Advent.
As Christmas comes closer, we can easily lose ourselves in all the busy stuff we’re doing - and the stress and worry about what we can and can’t do.
But this is a time for thinking about ourselves and our lives, and asking: this Advent, what do I need to do to make a fresh start with Jesus at Christmas? What can I do to clear a path through my busy life so I can go to meet him? What practical things can I do to get ready to welcome Jesus with a happy heart, and to share his love and joy with others?
The sacrament of reconciliation is a good place to start – it’s a wonderful opportunity to be changed from the inside out!
We can think of people who need our prayers, and just spend a few moments each day picturing them, and lifting them up to God in our mind.
Getting closer to the word of God in the Bible is another great way to prepare. We can find five minutes to read a scripture story, and look for just one message to take with us through the day.
Here’s the thing that stands out in today’s Gospel for me: John’s a celebrity. People think he’s amazing and they flock to him from all over the place. But – he doesn’t let his fame go to his head. He’s making sure everyone remembers the most important thing – that Jesus is coming and we need to get ready.
Salesian Communications Worker
God, our Father,
At Advent, we have the chance to make a new start,
like the people John baptised.
Help us to make the most of it.
Show us how to make space and time for Jesus.
Guide us in making our lives new with him.