Father Ian VanHeusen presents a gospel reflection and spiritual exercise on the Mass readings from the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Isaiah 40 and the beginning of Mark’s gospel, 1:1-8.
Advent is a wonderful time to examine your heart and your prayer life, and to make small changes that can set you on a new trajectory of hope in the year ahead.
We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.
1. Do you believe that our Lord longs to speak to your heart tenderly?
2. Do you place your confidence in Christ’s second coming?
3. Do you believe that you will see the glory of the Lord in this life (and in the life to come)?
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.
A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.
The Word of the Lord
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1. Read Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11. Do you meditate on God’s desire to speak to you? Pray for docility to His voice and His will and for penitence in your own life. In your prayer, have an interior dialogue inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart, and for your ability to listen to His authentic work and voice.
2. Set aside some time each day this Advent to ponder Christ’s promise that He will come again in glory. For Christians, this is the meaning of Advent – hopeful anticipation. Examine your heart and ask whether you genuinely carry this hope and confidence. If it’s been missing, ask our Lord to stir it up in your heart.
3. We ask – where is God’s victory in the midst of this suffering, fallen world? It can be very easy to despair, but does that negative realism that focuses outwardly distract you from your own interior work towards holiness?
Ask yourself: “Am I walking a path of transformation, surrendering day by day, and asking the Lord to show me His glory?” Do you truly believe that our Lord desires a mystical union with you in this life? Ask Him for the holy desire that longs for his second coming, that itself invites His glory into our plane of vision, and into our lives.
Follow Fr. VanHeusen at http://ianvanheusen.com
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