Second Sunday of Advent – December 7, 2014

Lectionary: 5

Reading 1 IS 40:1-5, 9-11

A reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah.  This reading is in the context of the Babylonian exile.  The Jews were captured and taken away from their homes.  Only a remnant remained in Jerusalem.  The rest were living in captivity in far away lands.  God permitted this because of their disobedience.  It was a result of the curses which God proclaimed in the very beginning, in the book of Deuteronomy in the “Punishment for idolatry“.  But now, the Lord is relenting and begun to pour His mercy upon Jerusalem.  Therefore, He says to Isaiah:

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

The suffering of Jerusalem has satisfied God’s demand for justice.  Their sin has been expiated.  So, God relents.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This voice in the desert is St. John the Baptist.  Isaiah is prophesying of his coming and his announcing the coming of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!

Mount Zion is a mountain outside of Jerusalem.  If I’m not mistaken, it is the same as Mount Sinai, the place from where God spoke to Moses (Exodus 19:18).

Isaiah is prophesying the time of the coming of Jesus Christ and is comparing Jerusalem to the Precursor, St. John the Baptist.  The irony is that Jerusalem will climb the mountain not to rejoice, but to lament the coming of the Messiah.  Because it is upon a high mountain outside of Jerusalem that they crucify Him.

Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.

This brings us up to the Second Coming of the Lord in Power.  When He comes to judge the earth. 

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

And there will be a new heaven and a new earth.   And that is a great comfort, indeed.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14

R/ (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.

God has made peace with His people.  He has forgiven their sins and again promised them salvation if they keep His commandments.

R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

When God redeems the earth, all things will be made new.

R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.

God Himself will walk amongst His people.

R/ Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 2 PT 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.

Don’t we know it?  Not only that, but God’s way are not our ways.  Things always work out, but not the way we expect.

The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.

God waits on us that we turn to Him and be saved.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,

But He won’t wait forever.  So, don’t let that day catch you unprepared.

and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.

Oh, yeah!  If God can dissolve things in this way, what manner of logic would persuade anyone to put God to the test?

But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Yes!  Be eager to do good that God may turn to you and say, “well done, good and faithful servant!”  And He will let you in to His House, forever.

Alleluia LK 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Are you preparing for the birth of our Lord, in your hearts?  Jesus Christ was born long ago, in Bethlehem.  He will not be born there again.  It is time to prepare that Jesus Christ be born, in your heart, that you may be born again, in His Spirit.

Gospel MK 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.

And preparing the People of God for the coming of their Saviour.

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.

And many people repented of their sins and were Baptized by St. John.

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.”

That One is Jesus Christ.  Emmanuel, God with us.  He is the One who gives us living water in the Holy Sacraments, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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