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Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 4, 2011:

“John (the Baptist) appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mk 1:3) In any marriage, hurts are inevitable and there is reason to forgive. It may not be major, like a sin, but often small, like a pinch. Is there anything to forgive today?

40 posted on 12/04/2011 5:05:44 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Scripture Study

Second Sunday of Advent - Cycle B

December 4, 2011

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

Psalm: 85:9-14

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:1-8

  • This Sunday’s reading is from the opening of St. Mark’s Gospel. The shortest of the four Gospels, Mark is marked by a sense of immediacy, which goes well with the themes of vigilance and preparation, which characterize the season of Advent. Mark does not relate any genealogies or infancy narratives, but as his gospel opens we are immediately shown the events leading up to the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry (Mark 1:14).
  • We are also introduced to John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and precursor, who is preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” that is, people were seeking forgiveness of their sins by their repentance. John’s baptism did not have the sacramental power to wash away sins like Christian baptism does as it lacked the power of the Holy Spirit conferred by Jesus after his Resurrection (verse 8; John 3:5, 20:22-23).
  • John the Baptist was identified as a kind of Elijah the prophet from the Old Testament (2 Kings 1:8), returned to usher in the Messianic age (verses 2-3; Malachi 3:23-24; Mark 9:11-13; Matthew 17:10-12; Luke 1:17). He will also figure prominently in next week’s Gospel reading and several of the daily Mass readings throughout Advent.



  • In the 1st Reading, what is coming to an end for God’s people? How are they to prepare for what’s coming? What will it look like when it finally arrives?
  • In the 2nd Reading, what attitude does St. Peter advise us to have while awaiting the return of Jesus? With what does he say we should occupy ourselves during this time?
  • What does Mark (and the Church) mean by “the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ” (verse 1)? How would you explain the basic message to someone who asked?
  • What do the contexts of the quotes in verses 2-3 (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3; Exodus 23:20) teach about the “coming one”?
  • Why is John the Baptist’s message so popular with the crowds (verses 4-5)? What does the Church teach about John (CCC 717-720)?
  • Given John’s message (verses 7-8) what type of person are the crowds anticipating (see Isaiah 32:15-20)?
  • What from your life illustrates what it means to “repent”? What can you do (or not do) to prepare for the Lord’s coming and to make this a more fruitful Advent?
  • John the Baptist prepared “the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3; Isaiah 40:3). Who prepared the way of the Lord in your life?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 151, 422, 523, 575, 696, 717-720, 2447


Neither repentance avails without grace, nor grace without repentance; for repentance must first condemn sin, that grace may blot it out. So then John, who was a type of the law, came baptizing for repentance, while Christ came to offer grace.

–St. Ambrose of Milan (ca. AD 380)

41 posted on 12/04/2011 5:31:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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