This weekend, the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading comes from Mark 1:1-8. Mark’s Gospel begins with the words “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. In those days, a “Gospel” typically referred to celebrating the victory or birth of an emperor, who claimed to be a son of god. In saying this, Mark pointed out that true peace and victory come not from worldly princes, but from the true Son of God. In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus by teaching through words and actions. He was so humble that he said he was not worthy to untie the sandals of the Messiah, a job deemed too demeaning for even a Jewish slave to perform. When we are baptized, our original sin, personal sin, and the temporal punishment of sin are all erased; we also receive an indelible mark which allows us to receive the other Sacraments. Although John’s baptism had no actual authority to forgive sins, he used a liturgy to prepare people’s hearts to receive Jesus. The Sacrament of Reconciliation has much greater spiritual graces than John’s confessions, and form the pillars of salvation with Baptism. We ought to sincerely repent this Advent, in order to welcome Jesus’ coming.
“Spiritual Talk” – The Second Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho
by Kenny Cheng