This is the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of Isaiah, the prophet, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you, to prepare your way. Let the people hear the voice calling in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, level his paths.”
So John began to baptize in the desert; he preached a baptism of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins. All Judea and all the people from the city of Jerusalem went out to John to confess their sins, and to be baptized by him in the river Jordan.
John was clothed in camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and honey. He preached to the people, saying, “After me comes one who is more powerful than I am; I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”
Reading: The Gospel today is the introduction of the Gospel of Mark. It speaks of John who started his ministry in order to prepare the way for Someone who would come after him.
Reflection: It’s not easy to play second fiddle especially if you too have your own set of followers and have been in the trade for some time. But that is precisely what John did. From the very beginning he knew his place and acted responsibly. No temptation for self-promotion or seeking out his own personal glory deterred him from his task. He was a man comfortable with himself. He did not need external signs of his stature. Even his lifestyle pointed to a conscious decision he made for himself. Clothed only in camel’s hair with the barest of sustenance to support him, his greatness lay within. Playing second did not diminish who he was. He was God’s servant and would remain as one no matter what.
Response: Advent is about disposing of our extras that we might have room for the Child to be born on Christmas. Let John be our guide today for simple living. Why don’t we dispose all our accumulated things that we don’t need anyway and give it to those who might have better use for it. Maybe, it is a good idea to start with our closet.
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