Today’s Gospel begins with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” This is very significant because this was a common beginning for a royal announcement, often a decree when a major battle was won or a conquest by the king, emperor, etc. Mark wants it known to anyone who reads his account that he is speaking about an important person, a king, the true king. He identifies Jesus as someone of divine authority and the life story he is about to reveal is important as a whole. Mark did not just include this for certain events in Christ’s life but them all.
We then hear about John the Baptist, we should picture a rugged man, unshaved, camel’s hair as his tunic, feeding on locust, noting his separation from civilization. It was believed John lived in the desert, an early form of monastic life. He appears to tell the people to repent but makes it clear he is not the messiah, we should be preparing for another coming.
Have you ever stopped to think about the fact John is telling the people to prepare the way for someone who has been on earth with them already for roughly thirty years? John emphasizes now, he isn’t foretelling of someone to come in the future but in reality a man now.
So why do people flock to this rugged wilderness man? It’s human nature to dwell on our wrong doings and naturally want to rid our conscience of our mistakes. We can assume the majority of people coming to him were faithful Jewish men who would see his resemblance to Elijah and perceive him as a prophet.
Advent offers us a time to repent, to dwell on what is in our hearts, a constant reminder to prepare ourselves for something great, our encounter with Christ. Sins separates us from our relationship with God, by reconciling our sins and receiving the mercy of God we straighten our path back to him.
Do not let the fear of the confessional stop you from this. Allow the burden on your soul to break through the earthly anxiety because only when we repent will we be truly prepared for Christ. You can make an appointment anytime for the sacrament or visit us on Saturday’s from 3:00 to 4:15 in the Main Church.