Liturgy of the Sunday

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Second Sunday of Advent
Memorial of Saint Nicholas (+ 350) whose relics are in Bari. He was a bishop in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and is venerated throughout East. (Memorial of all Christians who live in the East)

First Reading

Isaiah 40,1-5.9-11

'Console my people, console them,' says your God. 'Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and cry to her that her period of service is ended, that her guilt has been atoned for, that, from the hand of Yahweh, she has received double punishment for all her sins.' A voice cries, 'Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be levelled, every cliff become a plateau, every escarpment a plain; then the glory of Yahweh will be revealed and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.' Go up on a high mountain, messenger of Zion. Shout as loud as you can, messenger of Jerusalem! Shout fearlessly, say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God.' Here is Lord Yahweh coming with power, his arm maintains his authority, his reward is with him and his prize precedes him. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.


Psalm 84


Return to us, O Lord, our salvation.

O Lord, you once favoured your land
and revived the fortunes of Jacob,

you forgave the guilt of your people
and covered all their sins.

You averted all your rage,
you calmed the heat of your anger.

Revive us now, God, our helper!
Put an end to your grievance against us.

Will you be angry with us for ever,
will your anger never cease?

Will you not restore again our life
that your people may rejoice in you?

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your savings help.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends
and those who turn to him in their hearts.

His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps.

Second Reading

2 Peter 3,8-14

But there is one thing, my dear friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up. Since everything is coming to an end like this, what holy and saintly lives you should be living while you wait for the Day of God to come, and try to hasten its coming: on that Day the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for, relying on his promises, is the new heavens and new earth, where uprightness will be at home. So then, my dear friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live blameless and unsullied lives so that he will find you at peace.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 1,1-8

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the prophet Isaiah: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you. A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. John the Baptist was in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


The Gospel of Mark that will accompany us along this liturgical year opens as follow: "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The Gospel is the "good news" of Jesus Christ and a "new beginning" or those who listen to it. This is why we cannot hear the Gospel one time only, once for ever. We all need to listen to it several times and never stop listening to it. No age and no generation can live without it. While we listen to the Gospel, it renews our life and frees is from the chains of the "I", of one's own individual destiny, and the prison of evil. There is a future that must come and the Gospel invites us to prepare it. In front of the pandemic we have lived and that has shown to us the fragility of the world, the Gospel proclaims that someone is coming among men and women and gives them a new future, and an eternal salvation. There is no more time for fear, for nostalgia, for resignation or for listening to other voices. There is the risk of wasting this occasion that is given to us. This beginning of the Gospel, like John the Baptist, opens the way to the Lord who is coming. We could say that to open the way means to open the Gospel and to walk along it means to read it, meditate on it and act on it. The "way of the Lord" has come to us; salvation has come down to our lives.
This conviction is the strength of the Baptist. John is in hurry for the future of God to come and he cries it aloud. He does not resign to a hopeless world. He does not keep silent, he protests, and his word is sharp. As required from any preaching, John speaks to the hearts of people: he wants his word to fill the emptiness of the hearts, flatten the mountain of selfishness, break the dividing walls, pull out the bitter roots that poison relationships, straighten the paths crooked by the hatred of ill talking, indifference, and pride.
Mark notes: "And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." The Holy Liturgy on Sunday, our churches, whether small or large, becomes a place where we gather around the Baptist and his words. When the Word of God is proclaimed and preached the way of the Lord opens; blessed are we if we will be able to welcome it and walk along the way for it certainly will lead us to the Lord who is coming.