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John the Baptist prepares the Lord’s way

Published

REFLECTION

Mark 1:1-8

 

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.  John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

REFLECTION

JOHN PREPARES THE WAY. The appearance of the Lord Jesus to Israel began with the ministry of John in the desert and by the river Jordan. All four evangelists present the work of John as a prologue to the public ministry of Jesus.

Like the book of Genesis, Mark speaks of the beginning — this time the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God. The Gospel opens with a desert scene where John, a character embedded in his desert surrounding, calls people to repentance. While some “theologians” in Israel (the scribes and the Pharisees) will see him as possessed by demons because of his solitary life, singular diet, and strange “fashion statement,” crowds will flock to him, seeing in him a prophet of the Lord. It has been so long that the voice of a prophet has not been heard in the land, and this time that the voice of John reverberates in the desert, the people are only too happy to realize that God is again speaking to his people. Their famine is about to end—not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the Lord (cf Am 8:11).

Today, as we hear once more the cry of the Baptist at Mass, let us relish the feeling of excitement and hope. The spirit of Advent comes to us to awaken us to the truth that Jesus’ coming, as prepared by John, is not simply an event of the past. Advent — and Christmas — returns to us every year like a cycle, until the final and unending Advent, the Parousia, when Jesus comes again in glory.

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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