December 4, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent
Father Frank Formolo,
Listen to the podcast version here.
Mark 1: 1-8
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
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you have given me a
new day. You have given me a new opportunity to
prepare myself for your coming. I believe that you will
be with me as I continue my preparation for your
coming. My heart is too often divided and pulled in
many directions, but I wish to set my heart totally
on you so that I may love you above all
else. Here I am, Lord, to know you and love
Petition: Lord, help me to embrace the proper
means to prepare myself for your birth.
1. John’s Preparation:
John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. He wore
a camel’s skin and lived in the desert. In this
manner he prepared himself for Christ’s coming. He had removed
himself from the world and all its temptations. He had
forfeited his home, family, friends, money, food—anything that would take
him from fulfilling his call to prepare the way of
the Lord. Compared with John, how deep is my commitment?
What price am I prepared to pay to be his
2. John’s Preaching: John invites sinners to repentance. Thousands flock
to hear him. His words move the people to listen.
Probably more so does his example: the people see him
living in the desert without the comforts of the world.
By his actions they see he is truly a prophet.
He has come before them so he can rightly call
them to conversion. His life has strength and meaning that
is not found in others. If we could be authentic
and lead by our example, how many more people would
be moved to follow Christ!
3. John’s Repentance: Those who recognize
their sins go to John to be baptized. For John,
baptism is a symbol of repentance: the people recognize their
sins and ask God for forgiveness. John knows that he
cannot forgive sins, but he realizes that it is important
for everyone to take the step of being sorry and
asking God to forgive them. John tells us clearly that
it is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who will
forgive sins. He doesn’t try to obtain forgiveness in another
way. He doesn’t try to circumvent God’s plan. God has
given us the sacrament of confession for the forgiveness of
our sins. How often do I take advantage of it?
Am I faithful to frequent confession, or perhaps do I
look elsewhere for the grace that only comes from confession?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, often I fall into the ways
of the world, letting myself get caught up in its
comforts and vanities. Teach me that only one thing matters:
you and the life you promised us. Help me to
use this Advent to prepare for your coming by detaching
myself from the ways of the world and by being
an example of Christian living for those whom I encounter.
Help me to be always faithful to my frequent confession.
Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice, foregoing a comfort
or something I really like, and offer it up to
God in reparation for sins––especially my own.