Jesus’ coming is announced by His zealous forerunner St. John the Baptist. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he can be awed and inspired by God’s prophets and by cultivating the Virtue of Courage so he can imitate the heroic courage of St. John the Baptist.
2nd Week of Advent – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 1:1-8
Isaiah, the great martyred prophet (was sawn in half) who lived 700 years before the birth of Jesus, inspired by the Holy Spirit, accurately foresees that the coming of the Messiah will be announced by one who is “crying in the wilderness”, saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord…” John the Baptist is the man foreseen by Isaiah who was chosen by God to announce the coming of Jesus.
A fiery prophet, John the Baptist lived an austere and rugged life in the wilderness, and like the great prophet Elijah, preached by the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:6-11), wore similar clothing (2 Kings 1:8) and fasted (Mk 2:18). Jesus confirms (Mt 11:14) that John the Baptist also fulfills the prophesied return of Elijah (Mal 4:5).
The last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist zealously preached the need to repent from, and confess, sins, to receive the baptism of water for repentance, and to bear the good fruit of a holy life. John announces the future coming and greatness of Jesus, revealing that, despite John’s own greatness, he is unworthy to untie the sandals of Jesus, a task of the lowliest of slaves in ancient times. He fearlessly confronts the powerful Pharisees and Sadducees, insulting and condemning them as, a “brood of vipers”, an inflammatory and damning comparison to the Evil Serpent of Eden (Mt 3:7). John bluntly proclaims Jesus’ coming judgment in which men of humble repentance and faith (wheat) will be saved, and the unrepentant and unfruitful (the chaff) will be burned in “unquenchable fire” (Mt 3:10). Though John the Baptist will die a martyr during the early stages of Jesus’ public ministry, he foresees that Jesus will baptize “with the Holy Spirit and with fire”, a remarkably accurate reference to the Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 2:4).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, Son of God, with Divine Knowledge and Power, prepares for His public ministry through John the Baptist: He creates and inspires Isaiah to give prophecy of John the Baptist centuries before his birth; He creates the great prophet Elijah who John the Baptist imitates; He causes John to be miraculously conceived; He inspires John with wisdom and fortitude to take on the mission to announce His coming.
Be inspired by the Prophets
Realize: Since the fall of Adam in Eden, great prophets have been raised up to call and give hope to all those who long to be reunited with God.
Believe: Reflect upon the great prophets Isaiah (CCC 497, 712, 714, 1502) and Elijah (CCC 523, 554-555, 696-697, 2582, 2595).
Pray: Almighty and most Gracious Father, Creator of the Prophets, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I am filled with gratitude, love and veneration for the prophets You created and raised up so that I might be saved by You.
Imitate the Heroic Courage and Zeal of John the Baptist
Realize: Many men are lukewarm or disinterested in Jesus because they been presented with a false de-masculinized Jesus Who is soft, weak, non-confrontational, Who never says a word that causes discomfort, never makes tough demands, never condemns sin, or never warns unrepentant sinners about Hell; John the Baptist (manly, survivalist, powerful, courageous, zealous, magnetic) would never have followed a false de-masculinized Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon John the Baptist (CCC 486, 523, 535, 608, 678, 696, 717-720, 1223).
Pray: Jesus, Heroic and Fearless King, help me build the Virtue of Courage (a part of Fortitude) so I can fearlessly imitate John the Baptist and bring Your Gospel to the world.