Second Sunday of Advent 2020

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. This is the time of year when we focus our prayer and attention on the promised coming of Christ in glory, the Second Coming of our Lord.

In today’s Scripture, we hear from two great prophets. We hear from Isaiah in the Old Testament and John the Baptist in the New Testament. Both prophets proclaim, “ A voice crying out in the desert”.

To think Biblically, we need to remind ourselves what the desert means in Scripture. All throughout the Bible, the desert is a place of trial, temptation, and also preparation.

Although centuries apart both prophets proclaim that when God’s people cry out, when God‘s people are being tested, tempted, and even going through trials – it is then that we can have confidence that our God hears our cries, that our God will be the shepherd who feeds the flock. Our God will care for us.

Our God was born as man and came to us. He gave His life on the Cross for our salvation, thereby giving us eternal life

As we await His Second Coming, do we find ourselves once again in a spiritual desert? Do we feel like we are going through all kinds of trials? Do we cry out for God’s presence to be made known? Do we look around our world (and perhaps our lives) and feel as though we are walking in a land barren of God’s love and care? Has our prayer life dried up and become arid?

For many, the trials and tribulations of life – especially in these COVID times – have a very detrimental effect on our spiritual life. We may be easily tempted to stop praying, to give up hope of God’s activity in our world and in our lives. We may be in the desert of dismay and even despair. We may think to ourselves, “ I see plenty of problems but where is God?”

It is to this frame of mind that our Scriptures speak today. Both Isaiah and John the Baptist loudly proclaim the presence of God. Both loudly proclaim God’s love for His people. This love was proven by His birth. This love was proven by the sacrifice of the Cross.

And now is the time when we who take His name as Christian – we who follow Him – we now give proof of His love to the world.

We heed the words of our second reading today from St. Peter, as he asks, “what sort of persons ought you to be?” We embrace his words to “conduct yourselves in holiness and devotion”.

We strive to be holy. This means we strive to be close to God. In times of trial and tribulation, we are the voice now that cries out in the desert. We are the proven presence of God‘s love in the world. We take up the rally call of the prophet Isaiah, “Comfort give comfort to my people says your God”.

We give testament to God‘s presence, love, care, in this world by how we comfort one another. We are told to speak tenderly. Let us think about that. Do we speak tenderly to one another? Gentleness, compassion, kindness, are all qualities that should be part of our speech and spirit as we speak and act.

Do we seek to bring comfort to others? In order to do so, we first must be aware of the needs of others. We must have eyes open for opportunities to help and to give of ourselves. A smile, a sincere word of concern, a warm affirmation, a sincere expression of gratitude – all bring comfort to others. This is the proof of God‘s care and love in the world. It is found in the charitable works of those who follow Him. This is how we give Testament to His presence for those who are walking in the spiritual desert.

Today let us join Isaiah and John the Baptist. Let us be heralds of glad tidings. Let us hasten the coming of the day of God. Let us proclaim to all – by our words and by our deeds, “Here is your God. He is active and involved in your life – because we are here – to speak tenderly, to give comfort and care in His name.”

Is 40:1-5, 9-11

Prepare the way of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
   says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
   that her service is at an end,
   her guilt is expiated;
   indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
   double for all her sins.

      A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
   Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
   every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
   the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together;
   for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
   Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
   Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
   and say to the cities of Judah:
   Here is your God!
Here comes with power
   the Lord GOD,
   who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
   his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
   in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
   and leading the ewes with care.

Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims;
   the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
   glory dwelling in our land.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Kindness and truth shall meet;
   justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
   and justice shall look down from heaven.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

The LORD himself will give his benefits;
   our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
   and prepare the way of his steps.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

2 Pt 3:8-14

We await new heavens and a new earth.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Peter

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
   that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
   and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
   but he is patient with you,
   not wishing that any should perish
   but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
   and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
   and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
   and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
   what sort of persons ought you to be,
   conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
   waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
   because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
   and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
   we await new heavens and a new earth
   in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
   be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Lk 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mk 1:1-8

Make straight the paths of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

2 thoughts on “Second Sunday of Advent 2020

  1. Let us all conduct ourselves in holiness guided by the Holy Catholic Church and the priests of the Diocese of Rockford. Thank you Andrew Hougan for your reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! May we all speak tenderly. May each priest and pastor be a voice crying out God’s blessings. Thank you God our Father. Thank you Andrew Hougan. Very helpful message for my Cathilc faith and growth in understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

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