Gospel for Today


There are two prophetic voices most especially associated with the Advent season.  One is from the Old Testament, the other from the New.  Today we hear from both of them in our liturgy.  The first reading this Sunday is from the prophet Isaiah (Is 40:1-5, 9-11).  Our Gospel reading is from Mark 1:1-8 and it begins by quoting part of Isaiah that we hear in the first reading. 
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."

After quoting the prophet Isaiah, Mark then introduces us to another prophet, John the Baptist, who says, "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."
John's message is a simple one, and repeated often.  Do not look at me.  Look at Him.  I am not the One.  He is the One.  He is coming.  The one foretold by Isaiah is coming.  Prepare the way of the Lord.
Are you prepared for the coming of the Lord? The second reading today from St. Peter also speaks of preparing for the Lord's coming, not in the past, but at the end of time.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.  Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God… Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.  (2 Pt 3:8-14)
So the theme of Advent continues.  We remember the Lord's coming in history, in Bethlehem.  At the same time we prepare for the Lord's coming at the end of all history, at the end of time.  And how do we prepare?  St. Peter tells us to conduct ourselves in holiness and devotion, so that we may "be found without spot or blemish."  How do we do that?
We "make straight his path" by keeping our lives focused on Him.  We keep ourselves "without spot or blemish" by asking for His mercy and forgiveness when we fail.  Advent is a season of penance.  It is a season for reconciliation.  
This is a time of preparation in many different ways for WCU students.  We are wrapping up our final assignments and projects in all of our classes.  Most are also preparing for exams.  Some are preparing for graduation, and a new chapter in their lives post-college.  In the midst of all these very important preparations, take a few moments today to make sure you are not neglecting to prepare yourself in the most important way.  All of these things, St. Peter reminds us, will one day dissolve away.  Are we prepared to welcome Christ into our lives today?

Maybe you have not been to Mass in a while.  Come back.  Maybe it has been some time since you made your last confession.  Do it.  Don't wait.  The Eucharist is our daily bread, and Confession is our daily bath.  This is the rhythm of the Christian life; it is how we keep ourselves prepared for Christ Jesus.  
Advent is a reminder, and an invitation.  May we always strive to keep our lives focused on the eternal, on what is truly important.  May we always be prepared for Christ.

WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723