Homiletic Stuff: 2nd Sunday of Advent Year B

Mass Readings

Reading 1 – Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm – Psalm 85:9-14
Reading 2 – 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel – Mark 1:1-8

Commentaries on the Readings:


Clear a Path by Bishop Barron

  • The biblical principle is not the climbing of the mountain to God but rather the primacy of grace. God’s initiative is always 1st. The God of the Bible is never passively waiting for us. The biblical God is actively pursuing us. A commentator on St. John of the Cross – The spiritual life is an act of clearing the ground to enable the helicopter to safely land. That’s how the great saint conceives of God. God is like a helicopter that wants to land in our space. We cannot jump on the helicopter and take control. But rather clear the ground. St. John of the Cross = eradicate all attachments. Any creaturely goods that we imagine to be ultimate goods. St. John’s nada is the emptying of all attachments so as to make run for the inrushing of grace, clearing the ground to allow the helicopter to land. –> Links this to 1st reading and Gospel = prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John of the Cross image helps us to understand this.  Advent = time for us to clear the ground and make level the path to facilitate what God already wants to do with us, to make our hearts new Bethlehems.
  • Questions: What needs to be cleared away? What needs filling up? Does the deep valley of our indifference to God need to be filled up? Do we need to start praying? Give alms more thoroughly? Do we need to knock down some mountains of worldly attachments and pride?
  • None of this is a program of self-help or spiritual exercise but rather an exercise to clear the landing area and making straight the highway for our God.


Advent is really a season of two parts, with the 1st two weeks concerned with the Lord’s coming as Judge of all at the end of time and the 2nd two weeks serving as the proximate preparation for His coming in the flesh. Our activities, like the Church’s readings, should reflect that dual character. The Old Testament readings of Advent set the mood and theme each week. As we hear these readings, we need to look at our own dreams and expectations. How do we express them? The prophets of the Old Testament used beautiful poetic expressions, such as the lamb lying at peace with the lion, swords being beaten into plowshares, and the great banquet to come that will be presided over by the Lord. What poetic and symbolic expressions would we use to describe the age that is to come when we will know the Lord fully? What does the “Day of the Lord” mean for us? Can we identify with the dreams of the prophets? Advent is a season of anticipation.

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