Welcome back to a little liturgy. We are still waiting for the Lord and this week St Peter reminds us that it could be a long time! I'm afraid I have relied rather heavily on Handel this week but who could resist? We also hear about John the Baptist and the famous diet of locusts. Last week I made some cards for the different sections of the Mass. My son duly decorated them with imaginative drawings and then we duly forgot to take them to church. Best not to think about what they say about good intentions! We will try to use them this week and report back. I hope you enjoy the music.
Summary of Liturgy of the Word
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Isaiah reports God talking of a voice in the wilderness saying "Prepare a way for the Lord". The voice also asks that we make a straight path in the desert and fill in the valleys and flatten the hills. We should also shout with joy about the coming of the Lord who will be both powerful and like a shepherd.
Ps 84:9-14. R.v.8
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.
2 Peter 3:8-14
St Peter tells us that the day of the Lord will come "like a thief". The Lord, he says, is not being slow but is giving us plenty of time to change and live our lives well so we can be saved. He says "with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day."
At the Lord's coming there will be a roar and the earth will burn and be replaced by new heavens and a new earth where the righteous will live.
St Mark starts his Gospel by quoting Isaiah and pointing to John the Baptist as the "voice in the wilderness". He then tells us that people went to John to be baptised for the forgiveness of sins. John, we are told, wore camel skin and ate locusts and wild honey. He preached about someone who would follow him who was more powerful and who would baptise with the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah tells us that the Lord asks for his people to be consoled; they have made up for their sins. He then refers to the voice in the wilderness who cries out and asks that the earth should be prepared for the Lord. This is the passage that Mark refers to in his Gospel to introduce John the Baptist. John's baptism is in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.
Very often we can see the link between Old and New Testaments, especially in the books written by prophets. We know that Jesus himself refers to these scriptures and that his followers would know them thoroughly and were waiting for some of the prophesies to be fulfilled.
St Peter adds to the recent warnings from St Paul about the last day. He uses very vivid imagery of fire to demonstrate the power which will consume the world. Think of other times that the scriptures use imagery of fire. What does it refer to?
Activity during Mass
St Peter tells us that we should change our lives and live well so that we can be part of the new heavens and the new earth. The liturgy is designed to help us do this.
Watch out for these parts of the Mass that show we are asking God for forgiveness and trying to live as Christ would want us to. Add in the name of each part or prayer if you know it.
1) We confess our sins to God
2) We ask for mercy
3) We listen to God's word to be inspired to live well
4) We listen to the homily to understand how to change
5) We state that we believe our baptism frees us from sin
6) We pray to God to help us make the world a better place
7) We offer gifts of bread and wine with Christ as a sacrifice to take away sins
8) We pray to Our Father for forgiveness and not to be led into temptation
9) We offer each other peace
10) We ask the God to have mercy on us and grant us peace
11) We tell God that we are not worthy to receive him but that we believe he can make us better.
Today's Gospel tells us about John the Baptist - here are some events related to him. Draw some pictures to illustrate the events in his life.
Isaiah prophesies that a voice
will cry in the wilderness
"prepare a way for the Lord"
The angel Gabriel tells Zechariah
that his wife will bear a son
and he is to be called John
The child John leaps for joy
in Elizabeth's womb when
they are visited by the
John says that he is
a voice in the wilderness
John baptises Jesus
John is imprisoned and
then beheaded by Herod
Other activities and useful resources
Handel wrote an oratorio dealing with the events surrounding Christ coming as Messiah; it is traditionally sung at Christmas. Find out more and listen here:
Colin Davis conducting
The link below takes you to Handel's "Messiah" with text - listen from these points to hear Isaiah's words from today's liturgy.
Messiah excerpts with text
St Peter questions our perception of time. If 1 day = 1,000 years how long have you been alive? He also says that 1,000 years = 1 day. Work out how long you have lived if this is the case. You may need some help and a calculator for this!
Follow the link below to see an interesting discussion of how St John the Baptist lived and what he ate:
locusts and honey
Last week's question
Was Jesus actually born on 25th December?
I started looking for information to answer this and came across a clear answer on the link below. I can't do better! The website looks interesting for a an Advent / Christmas browse!
Date of Christmas?
This week's question
Why is there a pink candle on the Advent wreath?