Dec 6 2020 Reflection
Sunday 6 December 2020
First Reading: IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: 2 PT 3:8-14
Gospel Reading: MK 1:1-8
Today’s Note: Second Sunday of Advent
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.”
They acknowledged their sins. (Mark 1:5)
John the Baptist is often called the “precursor” or the “forerunner” of Christ because he prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. But why was this preparation necessary in the first place? Mark gives us a clue when he calls John’s baptism “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (1:4). John knew that sin kept people far from God, so he offered them the only remedy to help them receive Jesus when he came: repentance and forgiveness.
During Advent, we too are preparing for the coming of the Messiah, and part of that preparation also involves repentance. Like the people coming to the Jordan River, we know we have sinned and need forgiveness. And just as it did for them, repentance—even for minor sins—softens our hearts and opens us to Jesus and his grace.
How does this happen? Repentance requires us to take a spiritual inventory of what needs to change in our lives—of where we have fallen short of God’s commands. We don’t have to do this alone; if we ask him, the Holy Spirit will help us search our hearts and will gently reveal our sins to us. Then, when we see where we have strayed, the Spirit helps us see how deeply we need his grace. That causes us to go to Jesus more often and cling to him more tightly. When we experience God cleansing us of our sins, we can’t help but be filled with thanksgiving for his abundant love and for his unfailing, never-ending mercy.
So make it a point to try to get to Confession before Christmas. Let repentance become a daily practice as well so that you can keep your conscience clean of all those sins that can pile up and obscure your relationship with Christ. Repentance is powerful. God will use it not only to cleanse you but to soften your heart and draw you closer to himself.
“Jesus, give me the grace to recognize my sin and repent.”