December 6, 2020
In the wilderness, prepare a way to the Lord.
Show us, Lord, your mercy and give us your salvation.
Reading the book of Isaiah 40, 1-5. 9-11
“Comfort, comfort my people,” says our God; speak to the heart of Jerusalem, shout to him that his service has been fulfilled, and his crime is paid for, for from the hand of the Lord he has received double pay for his sins.”
A voice shouts, “In the wilderness prepare a way to the Lord; a road for our God is paved on the steppe; that the valleys rise, that mountains and hills are lowered, that the crooked straightens and the rough equals. The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and you will all see it together
“He has spoken the mouth of the Lord.”
Hop on a high mountain, herald of Zion; raise your voice loudly, herald of Jerusalem; Go up it, don’t be afraid, say to the cities of Judah:
“Here is our God. Look, the Lord God arrives with power and with his arm commands.
Look, his salary comes with him and his reward precedes him.
Like a shepherd who feeds the flock, he gathers the lambs with his arm and carries them on his chest; he takes care of the sheep he raises himself.”
Exit 84, 9ab 10. 11-12. 13-14
R/. Show us, Lord, your mercy and give us your salvation
I will listen to what the Lord says:
“God proclaims peace to his people and his friends.”
Salvation is close to those who fear it, and glory will dwell in our land. R/.
Mercy and fidelity meet, justice and peace are kissed; fidelity springs from the earth, and justice looks from heaven. R/.
The Lord will give us rain, and our land will bear its fruit.
Justice will march before him, and his steps will point the way. R/.
Reading the Apostle Peter’s Second Letter 3, 8-14
Do not forget one thing, my dears, that for the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some think, but has patience with you, because He does not want anyone to be lost, but to all to access conversion.
But the Lord’s Day will come like a thief. Then the heavens will disappear miserably, the elements will dissolve scorching, and the earth with all the works in it will be exposed.
Since all these things will dissolve in this way, how holy and pious their conduct must be, as they wait and hasten the coming of The Day of God!
On that day the heavens will dissolve on fire and the elements will melt scorching.
But we, according to his promise, expect new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells.
Therefore, my dears, as you wait for these events, seek god to find you at peace with him, unimpeachable and irreproachable.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Mark 1, 1-8
The gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God, begins.
As written in the prophet Isaiah:
“I send my messenger before thee, who shall prepare thy way; voice of the one who shouts in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, straighten their paths.'”
John appeared in the wilderness baptizing and preaching a baptism of conversion for the forgiveness of sins. The whole region of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem came to him. He baptized them in the Jordan River and confessed their sins.
John was dressed in camel skin, wearing a leather strap at his waist and feeding on grasshoppers and wild honey. He proclaimed, “Behind me comes the one who is stronger than me and I do not deserve to bend down to untie the strap of his sandals. I have baptized them with water, but he will baptize them with the Holy Ghost.”
On this second Sunday of Advent, the Word of God is a song to hope. The people of Israel were heartbroken and disoriented in the exile of Babylon. And the prophet Isaiah speaks to them to lift their spirits by anomaly giving them the end of their suffering and glorious return to Jerusalem. Exile for the Jews had meant their destruction and almost their annihilation with the loss of land, its property, its houses. They had lost everything… the Temple, its rites, its customs, its identity as a people. Their pain had reached the extreme, hurting the depths of their hearts. And suddenly everything changes and they begin to feel that it is possible to start and rebuild, with the return to their land and with the recovery of their customs and religion.
Our society, at the present time, is also distressed and desperate for so many reasons. We suffer an “existential exile”, an expropriation of ourselves, an emotional vacuum, an anguish of the present and a fear of the future that cowers us, hurts us, hurts us in the depths of ourselves. The pandemic that plagues us globally has exposed the shortcomings, mismatches and contradictions in which we live at the individual and community level. He has forced us to hide our faces, but he has unmasked our personal and social miseries. We need comfort and guidance, and maybe no one offers it to us. We want you to speak to us with true words that reach deep in your heart and we cannot find out who does it. Words and slogans have been abused too much. Inconsistency and lies betray and hurt.
And in the midst of this banishment, a voice shouts within us, deep within our consciences: “In your wilderness, prepare a way to the Lord. see that here is our God, see that the Lord comes with power. like a shepherd who feeds his flock, who takes your life in his arms to make it new.” He’s our only hope. In Him we place our trust. We don’t know what it’s going to be like or when it will… but He, only He, will bring our lives forward with the power of His glory. And it will heal the shattered hearts, and heal the wounds of the spirit, personal and social. Because nothing is impossible for Him.
Today’s Word of God is therefore a song to hope that entails a call to conversion. God asks us to help him, He wants to count on us. From passive and pitiful sufferers we have to become active and enthusiastic builders of new roads. The seed that the Almighty puts in our hearts must sprout and grow to feed others as well. The comfort that his love gives us cannot be selfishly keeping him. What valleys do we have to fill? What hills do we have to go down? The social transformation that we all yearn for must go through personal conversion, so that together we build a fairer society, a better world, a human community in which no one is excluded, in which everyone is inside. It is God’s great project: that we all live as brothers who we are, children of the same Father.
There are certainly gaps that we have to fill, gaps that we have to correct, omissions that we have to rectify. And also prides, arrogance, arrogance, authoritarianism, pride that we must lower, reduce, evaporate. The call to conversion is for everyone because it depends on building a better future, but it starts with each one with itself. The fullness of the new heaven and the new earth on which justice dwells, which St Paul announces to us, will come to the end of time. But it is up to each of us to advance their arrival, to make it also present reality, and not just future or eschatological. Let us do it with humility and patience.
In today’s Gospel emerges the figure of John the Baptist as the humble and patient witness, in whom we can find a message and see a testimony of life. Humble because he considered himself unworthy to bend down to untie the straps of the Master’s sandals, an office made by the servants; because he did not want to be confused with the Lord, because only Voice was known to baptize with water. Patient because he knew how to prepare the way and wait for the strongest person, the Word, Christ, to baptize with the Holy Spirit to come after him. John’s invitation to all the people who came to listen to him also makes it to us today: “prepare the way to the Lord, straighten out his paths.”
Let us look head-on, sincerely, to discover all that we have to straighten out in the personal life of each one, in the family, in society. Let us seek coherence with the gospel of Jesus Christ of all that we think, say, and do. Let us not live on slogans but on principles. God is patient with us because he doesn’t want anyone to get lost. Let’s not look for excuses or waste time. Let us seek to live in peace with God, with our brothers and sisters and with the depths of ourselves which is the sanctuary of one’s conscience. And thus the glory of the Lord, his truth, and his love for all mankind will be revealed through us.
Let’s prepare the ways, the Savior is coming
and let us go out, pilgrims, to meet the Lord.
Come, Lord, to deliver us, see your people to redeem;
purifies our lives and don’t take long to come.
The dew of the heavens upon the world is going to fall,
the promised Messiah, made a child, is going to be born.
We look forward to you and we know you will come;
we want to see your face and you come to reign.
Comfort and rejoice, banished from Zion,
coming, he’s close, he’s our salvation.