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Event Description

We hear Mark’s account of the beginning of John’s ministry and message. John is presented as the last of the Old Testament prophets and the one who embodied the role foreseen by Isaiah as the messenger to prepare the way for the coming of the Christ. He used the traditional Jewish ceremony of renewal and repentance—baptism—but promises that the one who is coming will immerse people in the Spirit of God. Our first reading is the passage from Isaiah quoted by Mark concerning John the Baptist. This comes from the time of the end of the Jewish people’s exile in Babylon and was an exhortation to them to return to the land of promise now that they had been freed by the Persian king, Cyrus. This second Exodus is filled with the promise of God’s love and care for the people. The second reading from 2 Peter looks toward the end of time. The writer is concerned with how we live in this time in anticipation for the time to come when the Day of the Lord will be revealed. We live in the time in between Christ’s first Advent and his second Coming and we gather in the Eucharist as people immersed by Baptism into God’s Spirit. We are called not only to celebrate God’s presence as our shepherd but also to be messengers who, like John, announce the coming of God’s kingdom. We do this by proclaiming the Word, by celebration of God’s sacramental presence, and by lives of peace and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

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Today is the first of the Advent Sundays centered on the ministry of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah.

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