Thoughts on the Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (B) 2018

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121017.cfm 

In our Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we encounter the figure of John the Baptist.  (We will also hear about John the Baptist next Sunday.)   We are told that “John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.  He fed on locusts and wild honey.”  John’s mission was simple.  He came to prepare the way of the Lord.  

Now certainly it would be difficult to say that John was a “handsome figure.”  Camel’s hair and leather are not fashion statements.   And a steady diet of locusts and wild honey can’t have been appealing.   And yet we are told that “the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him.”   What could have attracted them?   I suspect it was the force of his personality and the power of his message.   He proclaimed “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”   

While I have never met a “great” sinner, I have met lots of people who (like me) need to repent of particular sins, as well as entrenched patterns of sinfulness.   Because of this, I need to hear the Baptist’s message.   And when I hear and heed this message, I understand anew the meaning of and need for the season of Advent.

If you have ever heard Handel’s Messiah our first reading for this weekend will be very familiar.  It begins:  “Comfort, give comfort to my people.”   It is taken from that part of the book of Isaiah referred to as the Book of Consolation.   It was intended to console Israel as their time of exile was coming to an end. 

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the second Letter of St. Peter.   It reminds us clearly that God’s time is not our time and that God does not operate on a human timetable. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. During this season of Advent, who or what is calling you to prepare the way and repent of your sins?   How are you called to do this?   
  2. Sometimes messengers --- like John the Baptist --- come in unlikely guises.    Who has been a “messenger” of God for you?   In what unlikely guise did they appear?  What was their message?  Were you consoled or challenged by this message?   
  3. In retrospect, can you think of an instance when God’s time was not your time?  
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