Second Sunday of Advent Year B by Rev. Fr. Isaac Atta Mensah 

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Second Sunday of Advent Year B by Rev. Fr. Isaac Atta Mensah

First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: Second Peter 3:8-14
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:1-8


Theme: Preparing the way ( Viam Parantes)


One of the beautiful memories I will forever cherish at my college days is the St John school’s anthem. The first line of the anthem captures the motto of the school ‘Viam Parantes’ to wit, ‘preparing the way’ which summarizes the role of John the Baptist as a herald and the invitation to repentance. The passion with which students of St John’s school sing this anthem leaves you with nothing but goosebumps.
Last week we reflected on the need to keep waiting and being vigilant. On this second Sunday of Advent we want to prepare the way for the Lord as we keep being vigilant.

Explanation of the Text

In our first reading of today, there is a paradigm shift in the prophetic, and prayer pattern of Isaiah from lamentation and wish, to optimism. He has moved, from, “how I wish that you tear heaven…” to “prepare a way for the Lord… Here is the Lord coming with power…” His prayer of hope last week (1st Sunday of Advent) seems to be materializing and bearing fruits soon. So, he confidently says this week, “console my people, console them…” Last week he lamented and wished that the Lord tears down heaven and come down, but today his tone has changed. He sounds more optimistic and certain like someone who is beginning to see the result of or a response to his previous plea.

Interestingly both the first reading and the Gospel make allusion to the voice crying out in the wilderness. Whenever Israel fell away the prophets proclaimed a return to the wilderness as the place where Israel could regain her youthful fidelity. In the Gospel text for today, John the Baptist calls on the Jews to repent of their past, to confess their sins and be baptised. Repentance and forgiveness of sin are closely related. Forgiveness of sins, a divine gift, comes about through a change of heart, made possible and guaranteed by God. Unlike the former prophets, John addresses himself, not to the people as a whole, but to individuals. His call is for all to prepare to meet the Messiah.

The question is what are we doing during this period of waiting? I know political parties are seriously rapping up their campaigns as we’re nearing the election’s day and many are doing buying here and there to celebrate the festive season of Christmas and new year.

Advent is indeed described as “a time of waiting”. But as we look at the example of John the Baptist, we see that we actually have a model of “waiting” that tells us we are to “prepare a way” for the Lord through our actions, our love and our treatment of those who need God’s presence.


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