Second Sunday of Advent – Year B

December 4 - December 10

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 1:1-8

1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

1:2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;

1:3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"

1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

1:5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

1:6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

1:7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.

1:8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."


Welcome to the second week of Advent. Having waited last week in the apocalypse, we now find ourselves waiting in the Wilderness with John the Baptist. Here, he echoes the words of the prophet Isaiah, proclaiming, “Every valley will be filled and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough ways made smooth and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Is. 40:3-5). This is an outlandish claim that something huge is happening even as all outward appearances suggest otherwise — something so seismic that “ALL FLESH” shall see it. Like all the prophets, John the Baptist recognizes the massive upheaval that God’s Word induces and calls forth from humanity, inviting us to see the same as we wait in the wilderness.


What messages does the waiting room of the wilderness have for you? What seismic shifts are underway, birthing the gift of new sight?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

The Beginning of the Gospel

The first eight words of the book of Mark reminds us that everything has a beginning, our walks of faith included. Street Psalms arrived in Nicaragua almost 20 years ago as a pilot project training series for youth leaders. The name given to this initial foray into transformational ministry was “Incarnational Youth Ministry: Reaching the...

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On the Edges

Wilderness.  Uncultivated. Uninhabited. Inhospitable. Neglected. Abandoned. Disfavored. Dangerous. These words are commonly used to describe places of “wilderness.” And yet, as I write, my eye keeps catching the edge of a vast wilderness, carved out by the sprawl of our city. Snow-capped purple mountains with jagged peaks pierce the skyline. Shimmering, frigid, silty ocean water…

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Awake in the Water

We would have called it the boonies or the sticks or perhaps BFE. Mark refers to it simply as the wilderness. Whatever the name, it was a place you didn’t so much go to as you went through. And yet, John made the desert a destination. People from the Judean suburbs loaded their campers and...

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In Mark we get a smelly guy yelling – dressed like a nutcase. Right from the opening verses. “Repent!” Literally, “get a different mind!” Wake up! Rub the sleep boogers out of your eyes. Splash some water if that’s what it takes. Brew a strong cup. Yes this is going to be good, and you’re...

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison