We are already at the Second Sunday of Advent and it seems like we just celebrated the great national feast of Thanksgiving, perhaps somewhat differently than in years past. We are all so very much aware of the threat of the pandemic of Covid-19. In our liturgy for this Advent Sunday we have another very direct proclamation from the evangelist, Mark. That the gospel of Jesus Christ begins now and the Lord God has chosen the first part of this gospel will be delivered to us by the prophet John the Baptist.
We haven’t met John the Baptist, only read about him and the account of his birth in Luke’s gospel and the beautiful passage of the meeting of his mother Elizabeth and the mother of Jesus, with the joyous exclamation at the meeting of these two pregnant women, each chosen by God to play such significant roles in our salvation. We probably don’t think about that too often, or too deeply, and perhaps we should. Everyone rejoices when we have the opportunity to meet a newborn and rejoices as well when we meet the expectant mother. “How are you feeling?” or “How is your pregnancy going?” It’s especially true when it is the first child soon to be born.
Mark gives us a brief presentation of John beginning the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just telling us a little about this prophet, again chosen by God to proclaim to us the mystery of God calling us to seek forgiveness of our sins so we will be ready to accept the grace of conversion and be ready for all that Jesus, the Savior is going to fulfill in the few short years of his public ministry but fulfill for all of us, those living at the time of Jesus and all who will be born in generations and centuries later, the same message of salvation will be for us all.
Last Sunday in my column I mentioned that Advent is a time for quiet reflective prayer. We have heard the message that Advent gives us many times in the past, but we are to hear it and listen to its words yet again, this year as we live out the circumstances, the problems, and the crisis that this year has presented to the lives of every one of us. A year ago we hadn’t even heard about the crisis to come in the pandemic that would cause so much sickness and death, so much suffering in the lives of so many. All the more reason for us to spend time in prayer, so many questions we have that are unanswered in our lives.
This Second Sunday of Advent will pass quickly because it seems this whole season of Advent passes by so quickly. Take the time today, spend it with the Lord and open up your heart to Him, renew your trust and give Him your love. His heart can take it all in and He will return his love for you so many times over.