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Friday, 8 December 2017

How Prepared Are You?


Second Sunday of Advent
 10 December 2017
First reading
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
“In the desert prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”

See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
                
Second reading
Second Epistle of St. Peter 3:8-14
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish.

Gospel
Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John the baptizer appeared in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Reflection
by Jessa Janelle Padilla

Today’s readings are all about waiting and preparing for the coming of the Messiah. How do we prepare when we expect someone to come and visit us?

In times when we are expecting a visitor to come to our home, we oftentimes do general house cleaning, prepare good meals, put new curtains in our windows, and pull out those antique or nice utensils, even new towels, bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets to be used by our guest. It is how we show our hospitality, welcoming them wholeheartedly. In factories, if there is a scheduled inspection, they clean the entire surroundings and machines, put things in order, and gather their staff for a meeting in order to pass the inspection.

In the First Reading, Isaiah foretells a voice crying out in the desert to prepare the way of God. Such preparation is necessary to to see and reveal the glory of God.

In the Second Reading, Peter said that the Lord does not wish anyone to perish but would welcome all who will come in repentance when He comes back again at a time unknown to everyone. The message is for us to live each day like our last day. We should be thankful, helpful to those in need and repent of our sins so that we are always ready for the coming of the Lord and His judgement.

Our Gospel is all about John the Baptist who prepared the way of Jesus and baptized the people of Jerusalem with water. He encouraged them to acknowledge their sins and be baptized as as sign of their repentance, as a sign of getting ready for Jesus. He also told them that Jesus is mightier than him and will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. John is a perfect example of being humble, lifting up Jesus as someone above him.  

In our daily lives, how do we prepare the way for Jesus? How do we introduce Jesus to other people? My brothers and sisters, as we are now in the second Sunday of Advent,  let us be like St. John the Baptist who is humble and a good servant of God. Let us prepare ourselves for the Lord's Coming, introduce Him to one another, and encourage them to be watchful too.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, guide us in preparing Your way and teach us to be like St. John the Baptist, a humble witness proclaiming Your Coming. May this season of Advent help us to learn our purpose in life and be prepared for Your coming. This we ask through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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