Prepare to Listen. Light the first two purple candles and pray: Lord, I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me (Ps 131).
Prayerfully Read Mark 1:1-4
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”’,
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark begins with an abrupt but loaded first sentence and we expect him to unpack it . Instead, he appears to change the subject with two quotes, one from Malachi (3:1), the other from Isaiah (40:3), although he attributes both to Isaiah. They say the same thing: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” This is our introduction to John the Baptizer, who “appeared in the wilderness,” just as the prophet said he would. His task was to prepare the way of the Lord. His method was “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
By now, the Church should be expert in the business of repentance and forgiveness of sins, as a community, and as individuals. Repentance involves confession of wrongdoing, but is so much more. The word literally means to change one’s mind, to make an about face. It’s one thing to own and confess sin. It’s another to make the disciplined effort to change and live differently.
We can change when we accept, by faith, the forgiveness of sins. We prepare for Christ’s many comings into our lives and world today by continuing the practice and proclamation of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. In other words, living lives that are transformed from inside out.
Name and own your sins, things that need to change in your life.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, help me by a person who prepares the way of Lord by practicing repentance, making 180-degree changes where necessary, and receiving and living out your forgiveness. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Prepare the way of the Lord.
 See my discussion of Mark’s first verse in my book, Journey to Jesus With Mark’s Gospel as Guide (pp. 21-24).
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.