St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

We've all been to concerts, shows or theaters where there are warm-up acts or trailers of upcoming movies. Sometimes I think that they are really good or exciting, and I wonder why I bought a ticket to see the show or movie I am waiting for.
 
Today we meet the warm-up act for the Messiah who prepares the audience to welcome him, not with songs or jokes or special effects, but with a call to a baptism of repentance: John the Baptist. Mark introduces John's role by quoting three texts from the Hebrew Scriptures which in their respective contexts referred to the exodus, the exile and the return from exile. (Ex. 23:20, Mal. 3:1, Is. 40:3)  By including all three key moments in Jewish history, Mark is proclaiming Jesus as the fulfillment of all their hopes.

As Israel went through water to escape from Egypt, so their descendants would have to undergo a baptism of water to be prepared to enter a new age and a renewed covenant. Just as Israel was sent into exile, these people too were in exile because of their sins. Just as God was responsible for their return from exile, God would also pave their way back home by the forgiveness of sins.
 
But God needed a person to announce this new event, a messenger who would proclaim by word and deed and his very person that something astounding was about to happen; ergo, John the Baptist.
 
Mark purposely cast John in the role of a prophet by mentioning his dress and his diet. Again he uses a reference to the Hebrew Scriptures by mentioning his being clothed in camel hair and wearing a leather belt around his waist, like the prophet Elijah. (2 Kings 1:8) His strange  diet of locusts and wild honey recalls God punishing Egypt by a plague of locusts and promising the people of Israel a land flowing with milk and honey, symbols of judgment and comfort which Mark would take
as his theme throughout the Gospel.
 
In Advent, may we listen to the voice of the Baptist: "Repent, prepare the way of the Lord" lest we receive locusts and not honey, judgment not comfort.

Cf. Patricia Sanchez commentary in Preaching Resources, December 7, 2014, p.3, Celebration, December, 2014.
 
-Fr. Sas, December 7 Homily  
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B

LENT: Fasting and Abstinence

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
FASTING means to refrain from eating food between meals and to eat only one full meal with the other two being lighter meals. It is required of those who are age 18 to 59. Liquids are permitted between meals.
ABSTINENCE means to refrain from eating meat. It is required of those 14 years of age and older.

DO YOU PLAN TO FAST THIS LENTEN SEASON?

When pondering what to give up this year, consider Pope Francis’ suggestions to observe this Lent:

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

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