Readings and Gospel 6.12.2020

Second Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 5

Reading 1

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.

Responsorial Psalm

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.

Reading 2

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.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

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.”

REFLECTION

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.” Mark 1:7

John the Baptist was considered by Jesus as one of the greatest human beings ever to walk the face of the Earth (see Matthew 11:11). Yet in the passage above, John states clearly that he is not even worthy to “stoop and loosen the thongs” of Jesus’ sandals. This is humility to the greatest extent!

What made St. John the Baptist so great?  Was it his powerful preaching? His dynamic and attractive personality? His way with words? His good looks? His numerous followers? Certainly it was none of the above. That which made John truly great was the humility with which He pointed everyone to Jesus.

One of the greatest human struggles in life is pride. We tend to want to draw attention to ourselves. Most people struggle with a tendency to tell others how good they are and why they are right. We want attention, recognition and praise. We often struggle with this tendency because self-elevation has a way of making us feel important. And such a “feeling” feels good, to an extent. But what our fallen human nature often fails to recognize is that humility is one of the greatest attributes we can have and is, by far, the greatest source of greatness in life.

Humility is found clearly in these words and actions of John the Baptist in the passage above. He knew who Jesus was. He pointed to Jesus and turned the eyes of his followers from himself to his Lord. And it is this act of pointing others to Christ that has the double effect of elevating him to a greatness that self-centered pride can never achieve.

What could be greater than the act of pointing others to the Savior of the World? What could be greater than helping others to discover their purpose in life by coming to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior? What could be greater than exhorting others to a life of selfless surrender to the one and only God of mercy? What could be greater than elevating the Truth over the selfish lies of our fallen human nature?

Reflect, today, upon your calling in life to imitate the humility of John the Baptist. If you want your life to have true value and meaning, then use your life to elevate the Savior of the World to the greatest extent possible in the eyes of those around you. Point others to Jesus, make Jesus the central focus of your life and humble yourself before Him. In this act of humility, your true greatness will be discovered and you will find the central purpose of life.

My glorious Lord, You and You alone are the Savior of the World. You and You alone are God. Give me the wisdom of humility that I may dedicate my life to pointing others to You so that many will come to know You as their true Lord and God. I am not worthy of You, my Lord. Yet in Your mercy, You use me anyway. I thank You and dedicate my life to the proclamation of Your holy name. Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic daily reflection.com