The Second Sunday of Advent

Is 40:1-5 & 9-11; 2 Pet 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8 (Year B)

It is significant that the Gospel according to Mark, considered by most to be the earliest of the written Gospels, has no account of the birth of Jesus. Instead his Gospel begins with the call of John the Baptist. “The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way. A voice cries in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Mark’s surprising omission of the Christmas narrative directs our thoughts to Advent’s fundamental call. We, like the Evangelist, begin from the sure knowledge that already Christ has been born into this world. He has lived, died and risen from the dead that we might live in him. Therefore throughout Advent, and indeed in every moment of our lives, we are called to welcome him in prayer, quiet reflection and repentance.

Long ago the prophet Isaiah had consoled a broken people with the promise of God’s healing: “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for.”

At this time the citizens of Jerusalem were refugees, strangers in a foreign land. They mourned for all that had been lost and, above all, for a lost sense of God’s familiar presence.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection