Second Sunday of Advent (B)
December 10, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Is 40:1-5,9-11 1 

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!

Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9-10,11-12,13-14 


R/. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land. R/.

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. R/.

The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps. R/.

Second Reading 2Pt 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard "delay,"
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

Alleluia Lk. 3:4,6


Gospel Mk 1:1-8 

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths."

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

John was clothed in camel's hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
"One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Catena Nova

Love no longer tolerates the presence of valleys in your lives; if peace, patience, and goodness find a home in you, not only will each of you cease to be a valley but you will actually begin to be a mountain of God…. He has smoothed out your rough places and changed your disorderly ways into level paths, making in you an even unimpeded road, a road that is absolutely clear, so that God the Father may walk in you and Christ the Lord make his dwelling in you (Origen of Alexandria).


Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation – the great season of Advent....This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity.   We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father, for the mercy and love He has shown us in this mystery…. Each year, as the Church recalls this mystery, she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us.  This holy season teaches us, that Christ’s Coming was not only for the benefit of His contemporaries, His power has still to be communicated to us all.   We shall share His power, if, through holy faith and the sacraments, we willingly accept the grace Christ earned for us and live by that grace and in obedience to Christ (St. Charles Borromeo).


When a king wants to visit a certain place, he sends before him in advance his heralds. To an unusual king an unusual herald is appropriate…. St. John the Baptist was also as unusual and special as were the other heralds of Christ. He was the voice crying in the two-fold wilderness: in the wilderness of Jordan and in the human wilderness. Just as the wilderness of Jordan was fruitless and dry, so the wilderness of the human spirit, was unfruitful and dry. John was not able to make the human wilderness green and fruitful, but he cleared and plowed it and, in that way, was preparing the earth and leveled it [the earth] for the great Sower Who, by His coming, brings with Him the seed and the rain to sow the seed of knowledge and the rain of grace from on high to make it green and be fruitful (St. Nikolai Velimirovich).


Saint John the Baptist was separated from the world.  He was a Nazarite (Lk 1:15; Nb 6:2).  He went out from the world and placed himself over against it… and called it to repentance.   Then went out all Jerusalem to him into the desert (Mk 3:5) and he confronted it face to face.  But in his teaching he spoke of One who should come to them and speak to them in a far different way.  He should not separate Himself from them, He should not display Himself as some higher being but as their brother, as of their flesh and of their bones, as one among many brothers and sisters, as one of the multitude and amidst them  (St. John Henry Newman).
As with the rest of the New Testament, Peter is not saying that the present world of space, time and matter is going to be burnt up and destroyed…. What will happen, as many early Christian teachers said, is that some sort of fire, literal or metaphorical, will come upon the whole earth, not to destroy, but to test everything out, and to purify it by burning up everything that doesn’t meet the test....The day will come, then, and all will be revealed. All will be judged with fire.... God will indeed bring upon the whole world “the day of the Lord,” the day when all will be judged, all will be revealed. But he will do that in his own time. And that doesn’t mean that we simply have to sit around and twiddle our thumbs. What appears to us (in our impatient moments) as God’s delay is in fact God’s moment of fresh vocation. There are tasks to do in the meantime (N.T. Wright).
Life is difficult . . . In the past I would live chaotically in the future, because I refused to live in the here and now. I wanted to be handed everything on a platter, like a badly spoiled child. Sometimes I had the certain if rather undefined feeling that I would “make it” one day, that I had the capacity to do something “extraordinary,” and at other times the wild fear that I would “go to the dogs” after all. I now realize why. I simply refused to do what needed to be done, what lay right under my nose. I refused to climb into the future one step at a time . . . I no longer think of the future, that is, I no longer care whether or not I shall “make it,” because I now have the inner certainty that everything will be taken care of. Before, I always lived in anticipation, I had the feeling that nothing I did was the “real” thing, that it was all a preparation for something else, something “greater,” more “genuine.” But that feeling has dropped away from me completely. Every minute of this day seems one great gift and consolation, a memory I shall carry within me as an ever-present reality . . . What matters are the concerns of daily life . . . the main thing is that even as we die a terrible death we are able to feel right up to the very last moment that life has meaning and beauty, that we have realized our potential and lived a good life (Etty Hillesum).
[John the Baptist] is in the wilderness. Obviously because he finds these surroundings appropriate to his life- the parched solitude, the endless spaces, where no one can feel at home. Inevitably we keep discovering that we too are in the wilderness, the wilderness of a great city, the wilderness of isolation, a wilderness that seems to have no center, a wilderness we cannot feel at home in. And we are also men and women who would live in a wilderness if we have to give our outward environment the shape of that which is within us.  (Karl Rahner)



Patience, Please
         While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads Who can’t remember the excitement “the night before Christmas” brought to us as children?  And the surprises that awaited the next morning?  In the simpler time when I grew up — so memorably portrayed in A Christmas Story — when Ralphie we could be content with a single much-desired toy like a Red Ryder air rifle — things are considerably more complex today with interactive toys with computer chips and before long artificial intelligence! But however much the night before Christmas has changed over the years, impatience for its arrival remains the same as before. 
          Indeed, few things try our patience like Christmas.  For the very young, it means waiting for Santa, the Christmas break, presents under the tree, and the carefree wonder of a day which could never come fast enough, and gone all too soon.  Remember how long 365 days seemed when you began the countdown till next Christmas?
          But for adults, Christmas can try our patience for different reasons.  Some of us might be as impatient for the holidays to end as kids are for them to arrive.  Many of us have mixed feelings when December rolls around: childhood trauma can make for painful memories of Christmas past, the loss of loved ones can make for many a wistful thought in Christmas present; there might even be dread of Christmas future for some.
          I know the Grinch in me could do without some of what the Christmas season brings — especially its earlier and earlier arrival. I sometimes fell it's silly to think of Advent as the time to prepare for Christmas — that's been happening since the "Christmas in July" sales.  And do we really need Hallmark Christmas movies to start before Halloween pumpkins are carved?
Yet, if Christmas can try our patience, it’s still the season of God’s forbearance: the Lord for whom one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day (II).  God, who knows no “time” but “now.”  God, for whom there is no past or future, only eternity.  God, who does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance (II)  -- God bestows on us times and seasons to show with endless patience.

            Advent, in particular, reminds us how God, though timeless, makes use of time to prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight (G).  As he did for Israel after her time in exile, bringing her back to Jerusalem, her term served, her penalty paid.  Imagine that people’s impatience those long years of desolation when God seemed absent forever, till Isaiah finally cried: Comfort, O comfort my people (I). 

            Centuries later, those who went to John from the whole Judaean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem knew their time had come.  They seized the moment, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Imagine that people’s impatience those long years of delay when the Messiah seemed to tarry forever.  But now the Baptist cries out in the wilderness, the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit is at hand (G). 

            But time has a way of running out, doesn’t it?  Peter warns the day of the Lord will come like a thief . . . [when] the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire (II).  Though God is eternal, this earth, and everything in it, including ourselves, is not.  The time allotted us will come to an end -- as sure as Christmas comes, whether we want it to or not.

            So seize the season.  If it can’t come soon enough for you, that’s fine.  Learn patience.  And while you’re waiting, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of the Lord as salvation (II).  If the hustle and bustle leave you at wit’s end, or the impending months of winter fill you with foreboding, learn patience too.  And while you’re waiting, remember, the time is short, the Day is at hand, and no earthly undertaking should hinder us from setting out in haste to meet the Christ (cf. Collect).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For all members of the Body of Christ: that God will give us the energy to pursue conversion, advocate for justice and peace, and be heralds of God’s presence in our midst.

For all who are alone or in isolation: that God will sustain them, help them be aware of the blessings in their lives, and helps us to reach out and accompany them.

For healing of our civic community: that God will lead us to honest dialogue, greater respect for one another, and a deeper commitment to the truth.

For deeper respect and appreciation for the created world: that we may be good stewards of the earth that God has provided for our well-being and that of future generations.

For all who lack freedom or feel entrapped by life, particularly those with addictions, in abusive situations, or lack of employment: that they may experience hope and new freedom through God’s presence and love.

For all who are experiencing deep loneliness: that God will help them recognize a purpose for their life through the deepest desires that God has planted in their spirits and give them a vision as to how to live their life more fully.

For all who are ill: that God will ease their pain, heal them, and restore them to their communities of family and friends.

For an easing of tensions between and within nations: that God will open new paths for communication and the resolution of disputes so that they may work together to promote peace and justice.

For healing in our communities: that God will guide us in ending discrimination and prejudice so that the gifts of everyone may be utilized for the good of one another.

Rend the heavens and come down, O God of all the ages! Rouse us from sleep, deliver us from our heedless ways,  and form us into a watchful people, that, at the advent of your Son, he may find us doing what is right, mindful of all you command. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn (William Drummond, of Hawthornden)


The last and greatest herald of Heaven's King

Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,

Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,

Which he than man more harmless found and mild.

His food was locusts, and what young doth spring

With honey that from virgin hives distill'd;

Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing

Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.

There burst he forth: “All ye, whose hopes rely on God,

with me amidst these deserts mourn;

Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!”

 — Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?

Only the echoes, which he made relent,

Rung from their marble caves “Repent! Repent!”

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn

Comfort, my people, and calm all your fear;
the day of salvation is quickly drawing near.
The One you long to see
will soon set you free.
O come, Lord Jesus, come.
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Silence the thunder, silence sounds of war.
End all destruction and comfort those who mourn.
Your dream draws near,
your vision is here.
O come, Lord Jesus, come.
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Be light in the darkness; be truth for our lives.
Be strength for the helpless, the poor and lost who cry.
O saving voice,
O living choice,
O come, Lord Jesus, come.
O come, Lord Jesus, come.