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Gospel for Sunday, December 6: Mark 1: 1-8

II SUNDAY OF ADVENT

1Beginning of the gospel of Jesus, Christ, the Son of God .2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah: Behold, before you I send my messenger: he shall prepare your way.3 Voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.4 There was John, who baptized in the wilderness and proclaimed a baptism of conversion for the forgiveness of sins. 5 All the region of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem flocked to him. And they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his hips, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he proclaimed: “He comes after me who is stronger than I: I am not worthy to stoop down to untie the laces of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit”.

Mk 1: 1-8

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it). Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

PRESENTATION OF THE SON OF GOD (1,1)

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The Gospel, the Good News, is Jesus Christ himself, Son of God; this is the great news: that God became man, one of us, in Jesus Christ.

Mark is the only evangelist who titled his book about Jesus Christ “Gospel” (“to euaggelion” = “good news”). Only later did this term also come to indicate the work of other authors who described the life of Jesus. Mark identifies the good news with Christ himself.

In titling his book “the Gospel”, Mark intends to affirm that it is not primarily an account or narrative about Jesus, but a proclamation of the risen Christ, in which he has made himself present again. For this reason the Church does not limit itself to repeating the preaching of Jesus, but makes him (person and history) the object of its announcement. What follows from the Gospel is the good news, which makes Jesus, Messiah and Son of God, present again in the various episodes concerning his earthly ministry until his resurrection.

The first word written by Mark (“beginning”) tells us that the Gospel, the happy news that is Jesus himself, did not appear as something grandiose: instead, it had a humble beginning and, therefore, a development, which only at the end will appear in its fullness: the Gospel travels the path of the seed that becomes a tree.

At the beginning of his narrative, Mark places two professions of Faith, around which all the subsequent meditation will develop: Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus is the Son of God. But not in the line of glory and power but in that of poverty and of suffering. The messianic vocation of Jesus is in the line of the Servant of God, of which Isaiah spoke: a project of salvation that passes through service and death for others.

JOHN THE BAPTIZER (1,2-8)

John the Baptist, both in his austere life and in his preaching, is placed in the great line of Old Testament prophecy, but he is also the precursor of the New Testament.

John preaches a Baptism of penance. Ritual ablution (i.e. immersion in water) was a widespread ceremony in many other religions and also in the Jewish religion of the time, but John transforms this often external act into a religious choice: conversion is necessary to receive Baptism of the heart for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark elaborates the Baptist’s preaching in a Christian sense: he states, in fact, that the gift brought by Christ will be the Holy Spirit, the very Love of God: the whole Christian theology of baptism is here.

God wants men to live with each other, and not against each other. Only love for brothers, for others, breaks the closures of our selfishness that suffocates us. Only by starting from this reality will we be able to regain freedom for new “beginnings”, only by loving our brothers will we be able to seek God and truly honor him.

Like Jesus, taking to heart the situation and rights of others, but above all of those whom the “devotees” downgrade and discriminate: tax collectors and sinners, the rejected, the excluded.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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