Reflection: Second Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Is.40:1-5,9-11; 64:1.3-8; Ps.84; 2nd Reading – 2Pt.3:8-14; Gospel – Mk.1:1-8]


Although the personality of John the Baptist is well accepted and understood in the context of salvation, John remains quite a mysterious person. We know that John’s role in the history of salvation is to be the messenger who prepares the way of the Lord and to make his paths straight.

But the other information that we have about him does not improve our image of him. We are told that John the Baptist ‘appeared in the wilderness’, ‘proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’. Furthermore his attire and his way of living was not entirely conventional (especially when compared to our own way of living today) – John wore garment of camel-skin and lived on locusts and wild honey.

So, keeping all this in mind, what attracted all the people in Judaea and in Jerusalem to make their way to him? We are told that they were baptised by him and they confessed their sins.  What is it about John’s invitation to repent that attracted them all?

The first reading may help us to understand this more clearly. It sets the context of what is to be found in today’s gospel. It tells us that ‘a voice’ said these words, and later it said that ‘the mouth of the Lord has spoken’ and therefore the voice of the Lord. So, it is the Lord himself who is speaking, the same as with all the other prophets – the Lord speaks through them.

John’s own words (to repent) are those of the prophets’, who on their side are words coming from the mouth of the Lord. Thus, all those people who went to receive the baptism from John did not go because they were attracted to John himself. What moved them was their faith in God and the fact that they saw in John another prophet who although he is speaking in the name of God, he is in truth speaking the words of God. John’s emphasis was never about attracting anyone to himself but instead it is about the one that is to come. We are told that ‘all Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem…’ went to John because they accepted the word proclaimed by him and they repented for the forgiveness of their sins, and receiving the baptism they confessed their sins.

We too are familiar with what the scripture says: about John… about how to prepare the way of the Lord … to make his paths straight … We are also familiar about what the scripture says about Jesus, about the Father and about the Holy Spirit. But how do our faith and our belief match this familiarity? Do we believe what is said by ‘the voice’ of the Lord?  Do we believe that the Lord is still trying to speak with us? Do we believe that the Lord is holding us near close to his breast and to make us all saints?

Lord, you sent John the Baptist to proclaim your coming. Help us to believe that we too can help proclaim your coming as well as prepare your coming amongst us. Thank you Lord!


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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