Cycle B 2nd Sunday of Advent

Is. 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 Pet. 3:8-14; Mk. 1:1-8

The message from today's readings tells us to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Today's Gospel passage brings us to the beginning of the Gospel according to Mark, where we encounter the figure of John the Baptist. In these verses, we hear the echoes of the prophet Isaiah, proclaiming the coming of a messenger to prepare the way for the Lord. John, dressed in humble garments of camel's hair and a leather belt, emerges in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Travelling back through time, let us imagine that we were living in the days of the great prophet Isaiah. It was about 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Through the great prophet Isaiah, God was speaking to His people.

As Biblical history tells us, God's chosen people was not always faithful to Him. When the people lived righteously by obeying the Commandments, they received Divine blessings. When they lived in sin, they were punished. Now the day had arrived when God was revealing to those who lived in Jerusalem that they had served their term. They had paid double the penalty for their sins of unfaithfulness.

Cycle B 1st Sunday of Advent

Is. 63:16b-17; 64:1, 64:3-8; 1 Cor. 1:3-9; Mk. 13:33-7

Today, as we begin the season of Advent, we are reminded by the words of our Jesus to "Beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come." These words from the Gospel of Mark (13:31-37) echo a profound truth about our existence—life is uncertain, and the future is unknown. In this passage, Jesus uses the imagery of a man going on a journey, leaving his servants with specific tasks and urging the doorkeeper to be watchful. The underlying message is clear: Stay awake, be prepared, for the master may return at any moment.

Today's First Reading shines in the grace of God. It echoes Divine love that is forgiving towards those who live righteously. As we heard, God gladly meets those who do right, those who remember Him and His Holy ways. And St. Paul affirms during the reading of the First Letter to the Corinthians, the grace of God flows abundantly towards those who walk their living faith in Jesus Christ. 

But for those who turn their hearts away from the Lord, God treats them as children, disciplining them as a loving Father. [Heb. 12:8] Allowing all to enjoy their free will, the Lord permits them for some time to stray away from His ways, hardening their hearts so that they do not fear Him.

Cycle A Christ the King

 Ezek. 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Cor. 15:20-26, 28; Mt. 25:31-46

King Leonidas I, a warrior-king of Sparta, was chosen to lead a small force of Greek soldiers, primarily composed of 300 elite Spartan warriors, to defend the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army. The strategic significance of this pass was crucial, as it served as a bottleneck that could impede the advance of the much larger Persian forces.

Leonidas, aware of the overwhelming numerical disadvantage, demonstrated exceptional leadership and military prowess. The Spartans, known for their discipline and rigorous training, formed a formidable phalanx—a tightly packed formation with overlapping shields and long spears. For three days, they held their ground against wave after wave of Persian attacks.

They fought with unparalleled bravery. Leonidas himself fought at the front lines, leading by example. His leadership inspired his men to stand firm against insurmountable odds. Despite the heroics of the Greeks, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed them by revealing a mountain path that allowed the Persians to encircle the Greek forces.