The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, December 4, 2005
Second Sunday of Advent
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
2 Pt 3:8-14
A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:
Many of you will remember the musical "Godspell" back in the 70s. A single mournful ram's horn announces the theme that develops in volume and complexity as a figure dressed in animal skin (obviously John the Baptist) appears. "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" he cries, and the chorus and instruments pick up on it.
St. Mark, by the way, is the first to use the word "Gospel"--and he tells us immediately that this is his purpose, to announce the Good News of our salvation. In fact, only rarely do we find Sunday readings so unified in theme. Isaiah tells that the very terrain itself will be reshaped, with mountains being leveled and valleys being filled in, to make a level highway for our God and Savior. After being cleansed from sin in the wilderness, we are to run, shout, and exult that the Shepherd is coming soon in power and glory. The responsorial psalm proclaims that justice (in the person of John the Baptizer) will walk before the Savior, while the Alleluia repeats John's message.
In opening lines of Mark's Gospel, we find Jesus Himself telling us that John is His emissary, and that he will bring to reality the prophecy of Isaiah. Jesus endorses the urgent message of John that all repent of their sins in preparation to receive the promised salvation. This Sunday is a call to purge and purify our hearts this week. Let us truly open our ears to that mournful ram's horn, and take seriously John's call to repentance.
What are the mountains that need leveling? What are the valleys that need filling in?
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins at frontiernet dot net)