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The Second Sunday of Advent :: op-stjoseph.org

The Second Sunday of Advent :: op-stjoseph.org

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The Second Sunday of Advent
 –
Cycle B : December 7, 2008Scripture ReadingsFirst:
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11.
Second:
2 Peter 3:8-14.
Gospel:
Mark 1:1-8Prepared by: Father Stephen Dominic Hayes, OP1.
Subject Matter
 
 
The readings of this Sunday continue to focus upon the eschatological realities of the lastfour things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The preaching of John the Baptist focusesour attention on the Christians unique position between the two comings of Jesus Christ: hisfirst coming in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, which we celebrate anew every Christmas, andhis final coming in glory, when all the world, Christian and non-Christian, will find him to beJudge and Savior.
 
John the Baptist required those who came to him to undergo a bath of repentance (
mikvah 
)of the kind prescribed for proselytes to Judaism (though this requirement is not clearlyattested in contemporary Jewish sources), requiring this even of those who had been Jewsall their lives -
and thus prophetically, as God’s hera
ld, commanding a sign of andcommitment to conversion of heart from those who were already keeping the Law as ritualand social convention. This conversion " from the heart" is a thing fundamental to the
Christian life; and the Baptist’s Gospel calls us t
o conversion from the depths of our being.2.
Exegetical Notes
 
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
: This passage is the introduction to the body material called Deutero-Isaiah, and is characteristic of the circumstances of his journal after the destruction ofJerusalem and the Temple, and the captivity in Babylon. This particular passage sums upthe rest of this section of I Isaiah, looking forward to that day, when God, and the shepherd-king of Israel, greater than any human king, will bring his people back to their home inJerusalem. A divine voice adjures the prophet to "speak tenderly" to his people. God isspeaking, not to the historic ruins of the Jewish state, but to the people of God bound nowafter the penance of the exile to him personally. Deutero-Isaiah, studiously avoid referencesto thecult or worship of the Temple and focuses on the Word formed deep within the mindand heart of God, and now received just as personally by a people humbled by theirexperiences. In verse 3, we find introduced a crucial and rich expression with a subsequentand rich development, "prepare the way of the Lord." John the Baptist is to announce this
 
way, and Jesus declares himself in fact to be that holy Way which leads to his Father, asdoes no other. The passage finishes with Jerusalem portrayed as a coming in eschatologicalreality gone on the home of God on earth in the center of world redemption. The city hasonly one king, God himself, with the prophet passing over any claims of the house of David tothat office. Jesus Christ, of course unites both a historical and human line of kingship fromDavid with a divine title to rule as Son of God, the title with which Mark opens his Gospel intoday's reading.
 
2 Peter 3: 8-14:
This passage from the second letter of Peter turns her eyes forward to thesecond coming of Jesus. The concern of Christians as to why the Lord has not yet appearedis put down to the forbearance and mercy of God who wishes all sinners to have a chance ofsalvation. Nevertheless, the author emphasizes that the Day of Judgment will "come like athief" (v.10), and seems to go back to our Lord' s own words. In Matthew 24:25. Theseverses (7-13) are the only scriptural passage, which hold that the world will be destroyed in afinal and fiery conflagration. The message to the congregation, however it is clear: the Dayof Judgment is coming, so be vigilant and watchful for it.
 
 
Mark 1:1-8:
By calling his work "the Gospel," Mark makes a claim from the outset that he iswriting not a biography of Jesus, but a proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
in which he is again made present 
, The account of John the Baptist's preaching, which begins as thesetting and prologue to the public ministry of Jesus makes the connection between afulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the revelation of the one "my year than" John,whose sandal strap John is unworthy to untie (this was work for slaves in an ancienthousehold.) John himself identifies himself with the prophetic voice who speaks in Isaiah 40:"the voice of one crying in the wilderness."
 
John is clearly portrayed in the line of Old Testament prophecy, clothed as he is "in camel'shair with a leather belt around his waist." (Zechariah 13:4,) There seems also to be anattempt to identify John with the prophet Elijah by this costume (2 Kings 1:8), in fulfillment ofMalachi 4:5.. John's ministry in which he calls souls to repentance and
metanoia 
is sealedby the sign of a baptism of repentance based on the ritual bath required of converts to theJewish religion. All Jews, all children of Abraham in faith are called now to be converted fromthe heart in preparation for the advent of the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. In hisown person, therefore, John sums up the integrity and truth of the whole history of OldTestament prophecy which comes to a culmination in the revelation of "the Lamb of God whotakes away the sins of the world,
his very dress and habit proclaiming, as does his voiceand deeds, his spiritual union and prophetic manifestation of the One whose messenger (GK:
anggelos 
) and voice he is.3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
 
 
CCC 425:
The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming JesusChrist in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burnedwith the desire to proclaim Christ: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. "
And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ…
 
 
CCC 515:
From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and theshroud of his resurrection, everything in Jesus
life was a sign of his mystery. His deeds,miracles, and words all revealed that "in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." His
 
humanity appears as "sacrament," that is, the sign and instrument\ of his divinity and of thesalvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of hisdivine sonship and redemptive mission.
 
CCC 523:
St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or foreigner, sent to
prepare his way… Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah," John bears witness
to Christ in his preaching, by his baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
 
 
CCC 524:
When the Church celebrates
the liturgy of Advent 
each year, she makes presentthis ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior'sfirst coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating theprecursor
s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his
(John’s)
desire: "he mustincrease, but I must decrease."
 
 
CCC 720:
Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to men of "the
divine likeness, “ prefiguring what he wo
uld achieve with and in Christ. John's baptism wasfor repentance; Baptism in water and the Holy Spirit will be a new birth.
 
 
CCC 1696:
The way of Christ "leads to life"; a contrary way "leads to destruction." TheGospel parable of
the two ways 
remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; itshows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: "There are two ways, the one oflife, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference." (
Didache,
1,1)
 
4.
Patristic Commentary
 
 
The Venerable Bede
(In Marc. 1,1
):
The beginning of this gospel should be compared withthat of Matthew, in which it is said,
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David the Son of Abraham.
But here he is called
the Son of God 
. Now from both we mustunderstand the one Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, and of man. And fitly, the first Evangelistnames him
son of man 
, then second,
son of God 
, that from less things our sense may bydegrees mount up to greater, and by faith and the sacraments of the human nature assumed,rise to the acknowledgment of his divine eternity.
 
 
Pseudo-Chrysostom
( Vict. Ant. E Cat. In Marc.)
: Otherwise it can be said, that he hascompressed into one, two prophecies delivered in different places by two prophets; for in theprophet Isaiah, it is written after the story of Hezekiah,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness 
; but in Malachi,
Behold, I send my angel 
. The Evangelist, therefore , taking partsof two prophecies has put them down as spoken by Isaiah, and refers them here to onepassage, without mentioning, however, by whom it is said,
Behold, I send my angel 
.
 
 
The Venerable Bede
(In Marc. 1,3 
):
What he is revealed, in which is subjoined,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
For whosoever preaches a right faith and goodworks, what else does he but prepare the way for the Lord's coming to the hearts of hishearers, that the power of grace might penetrate these hearts, and the light of truth shinethem? The paths he makes straight, when he forms pure thoughts and the soul by the wordof preaching.
 
 
Pseudo-Jerome
(Genesis 24, 61.; Psalm 95:6)
: Now by John, as by the bridegroom's friendand a the bride is brought to Christ, as by a servant Rebecca was brought to Isaac;wherefore there follows
and there went out to him all, &.
And the bride leaping down from hercamel signifies the Church, who humbles herself on seeing her husband Isaac, that is, Christ.

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