Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Second Sunday of Advent

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Mark 1:1-8

"Prepare a way for the Lord"

Over five hundred years before the time of Christ, the People of Israel suffered a period of exile in Babylon. During their dark despair and suffering, the prophet Isaiah spoke to them words of comfort and of hope. Get ready for something really tremendous - make straight a highway for our God - every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough places plain - and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Be ready, the Lord is coming with power to deliver you.

These words were first fulfilled when the exiles were allowed to return home. God accomplished the salvation proclaimed by Isaiah by leading the exiles back from Babylon. However, at a deeper level, these words pointed to something else; they also foretold the coming of Jesus. The words of Isaiah were a prediction of John the Baptist. He was the "voice in the wilderness" sent to announce the coming of the Lord, this time in the person of Jesus, who will bring salvation for all.

Now we are invited to reach a deeper level still. The salvation promised by Isaiah and by John was not totally accomplished even by the first coming of Jesus. It is only when Jesus comes again at the end of time that the saving plan of God will be entirely fulfilled. And so those words are now addressed to us: "prepare a way of the Lord" - by "doing your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace".