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2nd Week of Advent (Cycle B)

We start the 2nd week of Advent with the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. Unlike the other two synoptic Gospels (Matthew & Luke) that have a Nativity story to start their Gospel. Mark begins his Gospel with connecting the words of the Prophet Isaiah with the words of John the Baptist. Mark is making it clear in the beginning of his Gospel that Jesus is the one to whom Isaiah was pointing. This is echoed in the words of John the Baptist.

John, like many of the prophets who came before him, looked and acted strangely. Mark's Gospel says that he wore camel's hair and ate locusts and wild honey. John didn't look like what one might think of when they think of God's messenger; however, the Gospel tells us that people from all over the Judean countryside as well as from all over Jerusalem came to see John. It was his words and humble lifestyle that attracted people, and like the prophets, he always pointed to someone greater than himself.

Just as John was an unexpected voice for God, so too was Jesus an unexpected Messiah. He came as a simple carpenter. He was of David's lineage, but was not royalty in the sight of His fellow Jews. But like John, Jesus attracted people by his words. Peter tells Him, "where else should we go, you have the words of everlasting life." He also attracts through His actions. He looks out for the most vulnerable in society and performs miracles that no one else can do.

God wants us to expect the unexpected this Advent Season. The only was to allow the great mystery of God to become part of our lives is to allow Him in.

Mark 1:1-8 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.”