Second Sunday of Advent
Readings (click here for the Sunday readings)
Gospel: Mk 1:1-8
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
A Vocations Angle
This Second Sunday of Advent the Church invites us to reflect on the person of St. John the Baptist. St. John the Baptist stands in a privileged place among the prophets as one who “prepares the way of the Lord” to reign in the hearts of God’s people. He also stands in a privileged place in relationship to Jesus and is often referred to as the “friend of the Bridegroom.” Jesus is of course the Bridegroom and his Bride is the Church.
As I prayed with this Gospel passage, I recalled an article I read in seminary by Msgr. John Cihak, current pastor at Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Oregon. The article is entitled “More than Just Friends.” In his article Msgr. Cihak highlights the intimate relationship Jesus had with three men: St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, and St. John the Beloved. As the title suggests, these men were more than just friends with Jesus. They were created for a particular bond of friendship, a particular vocation if you will.
In speaking about St. John the Baptist, Msgr. Cihak gives him the title “best man”. The best man, as we all know, is usually someone who is more than just a friend to the groom, they share a particular bond of friendship. Msgr. Cihak states, “As the best man, the friend helps to bring the Bridegroom and the Bride together. One priest shared with me that one of the reasons he loves being a priest is that he helps to bring a soul and Jesus together. He facilitates the encounter. He gets to set them up so that they fall in love, and he gets to do it again and again, soul after soul.”
Have you ever thought of the priest as more than just friends with Jesus? What about the priest as Jesus’ best man bringing souls and Jesus together? Seeing the priesthood through the icon of St. John the Baptist we have a glimpse into the identity of the priest as one who facilitates an encounter, as one who “prepares the way of the Lord” to reign in the hearts of his people. The priesthood, in the image of St. John the Baptist as best man, helps others fall in love with Jesus over and over again. What a gift!
Have a blessed Advent Season!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Jeff Eirvin
PS: Msgr. Cihak’s article “More than Just Friends” was recently published in a book entitled “Spiritual Husbands-Spiritual Fathers: Priestly Formation for the 21st Century”, co-edited by Bishop Felipe Esteves, S.T.D, and Bishop Andrew Cozzens, S.T.D.
Practical parish resources for the Second Sunday in Advent:
Prayer of the Faithful
That those chosen by Christ to “prepare the way of the Lord” as priests, deacons, brothers and sisters will answer His call, we pray to the Lord.
“Like a sheperd he feeds his flock.” Consider following Christ more closely as a priest, deacon or in consecrated life. Contact the Vocation Office at (503) 233-8368 or email: email@example.com
For Prayer of the Faithful and Bulletin Blurbs in Spanish go to Resources.