Reflection for First Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the Gospel of Mark is proclaimed on this Second Sunday of Advent. The first words quote the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, found in our first reading: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way… We learn that the messenger is John the Baptist and the mission given to him by God is to prepare the way of the Lord. John does so by proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance with water, not with the Holy Spirit, like our Baptism.
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like on day…But the day of he Lord will come like a thief… Perhaps we have experienced the sudden death of a loved one or friend…where the day of the Lord came like a thief as described in the Second Letter of St. Peter. Today’s Scripture readings remind us that as we spend our lives preparing for the day of the Lord, we must heed the call to conversion. People from the countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him… We see that many people came from the country and city to heed John’s call to repentance, but some did not.
Fr. Walter Ciszek, who spend 20 years in Russian prison camps described the proper response to the call to conversion: “I realized that true freedom meant nothing else than letting God operate within my soul without interference.” The interferences are the attachments we have, especially to sin …which prevent us from surrendering our will to God and allowing His Divine Will to operate within us.
Our response to the call to repentance is going to Confession. Confessing our sins centers ourselves and our lives on God. St. Jerome said that if you don’t show your wound to the doctor, how can he recommend the right medicine? Jesus Christ is the Divine Physician. We must show our wounds to Him to be healed spiritually. As the Second Letter of St. Peter tells us: be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
This Advent, let’s take a spiritual inventory of our lives and by the power of the Holy Spirit, make the necessary changes, especially with the grace from the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
May God bless us all always!