Reflection for the Vigil of the Second Sunday of Advent 2014

December 6, 2014

by Chris Kean, OSB

Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 22-24 and Mark 1:1-8

Recently I was at table when someone asked, “which of the gospels is your favorite?” I immediately replied, "Mark."  "Why?" "Because," I said, "he is the most direct of the gospel writers, he says what he has to say and that is the end of it."

Tonight's selection from Mark is a very good example of the type of writer Mark was.  We just heard the beginning of Mark’s gospel.  No Annunciation scene, no Bethlehem or any of the stories of Jesus growing up with Mary and Joseph, no wedding feast at Cana.  This is where he starts.  With the story of Jesus Christ at his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist who is his forerunner, his model for ministry--for active ministry.

John the Baptist knows his ministry is to announce the messiah, not to be the messiah. Mark chooses deliberately to portray him first to give us an example of how to be what we have been chosen to be as well. It is also a story that shows us how to mentor (proclaim) another. Each of us has been mentored by someone who has helped us to become who we are. We in turn have been given the privilege of mentoring others, of helping them become who they were meant to be by our words and actions just as John proclaimed Jesus.

This action of proclamation is a powerful thing. John’s words allowed others to know and come to Jesus. Be grateful today for those who have been the "John’s" in your life. Think about who you have and still do proclaim. Be grateful for those people and what they do. Do I still carry on the work of John? Is one of those who I announce daily Jesus of Nazareth? Would Mark put me at the beginning of his gospel if he were writing it today? Perhaps this Advent we can focus a little more energy on who Christ has called us to be and how we in turn announce his presence in the world to others.