The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B of the  2nd Week of Advent is Mark 1:1-8.

Isaiah, a martyred prophet who lived 700 years before the birth of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, accurately foresees that the coming of the Messiah will be announced by one who is “crying in the wilderness” saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord…” From the moment of his miraculous conception to the barren Elizabeth and elderly Zechariah, John the Baptist, as foreseen by Isaiah, was chosen by God to announce the coming of Christ.

To announce Christ, John the Baptist attracted a large audience of Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding area.  A fiery prophet, John the Baptist lived an austere and rugged exodus in the wilderness like the great prophet Elijah, preaching by the Jordan (2 Kings 2:6-11), wearing similar clothing (2 Kings1:8) and fasting (Mark 2:18). Christ confirms (Matt 11:14) that John the Baptist also fulfills the prophesied return of Elijah (Mal 4:5).

The last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist preached the need to repent from and confess sins, to bear good fruit and to receive the baptism of water for repentance. He announces the future coming and greatness of Christ, revealing that he is unworthy to untie Christ’s sandal (a task of the lowliest of slaves in ancient times). Though John the Baptist will die a martyr during the early stages of Christ’s public ministry, he foresees that Christ will baptize “with the Holy Spirit”, a remarkably accurate reference to the Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 2:4).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s coming is prophesied by Isaiah 700 years earlier and recognized and announced by John the Baptist. Son of Man, Christ is the perfection of manhood and awes the fierce and manly John.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at Christ’s divine power and wisdom: He inspires Isaiah to predict John the Baptist’s birth and mission; He sends the Holy Spirit to the barren Elizabeth and Zechariah to conceive John the Baptist; He inspires the Baptist to live an austere life and preach of His coming.

2) From the failure of Adam in Eden, great prophets have been raised up to call and give hope to all those who long to be reunited with God. During Advent, reflect upon the great prophets Isaiah (CCC 497, 712, 714, 1502) and Elijah (CCC 523, 554-555, 696-697, 2582, 2595) and pray for Christ to give you a burning hunger to know, love and serve Him.

3) John the Baptist is the greatest of prophets who prepares the way for Christ. During Advent, be awed by John the Baptist (CCC 486, 523, 535, 608, 678, 696, 717-720,1223) and ask Christ to give you the courage to be a witness for Him like John the Baptist.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner