Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday of Advent, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 40:1–5, 9–11
Second Reading 2 Peter 3:8–14
Gospel Mark 1:1–8


For Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11, see Baptism of the Lord, Year C.

St. Ireneaus--St. Mark begins his Gospel with the confession of the prophets:
‎‎Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make the paths straight before our God.” Plainly does the commencement of the Gospel quote the words of the holy prophets, and point out Him at once, whom they confessed as God and Lord; Him, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had also made promise to Him, that He would send His messenger before His face, who was John, crying in the wilderness, in “the spirit and power of Elias,” (Lk 1:17) “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight paths before our God.” (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3.10.5, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 425-426)

St. Clement of Alexandria--John the Baptist made himself an example of frugality and simplicity of life:
‎‎The blessed John, despising the locks of sheep as savouring of luxury, chose “camel’s hair,” and was clad in it, making himself an example of frugality and simplicity of life. For he also “ate locusts and wild honey,” (Mk 1:6) sweet and spiritual fare; preparing, as he was, the lowly and chaste ways of the Lord. For how possibly could he have worn a purple robe, who turned away from the pomp of cities, and retired to the solitude of the desert, to live in calmness with God, far from all frivolous pursuits—from all false show of good—from all meanness? (Clem. Alex., Paed. 2.11, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 266)

Tertullian--John's baptism prepares for the remission of sins granted through Christ:
‎‎And so “the baptism of repentance” (Ac 19:4) was dealt with as if it were a candidate for the remission and sanctification shortly about to follow in Christ: for in that John used to preach “baptism for the remission of sins,” (Mk 1:4) the declaration was made with reference to future remission; if it be true, (as it is,) that repentance is antecedent, remission subsequent; and this is “preparing the way.” (Lk 1:76) But he who “prepares” does not himself “perfect,” but procures for another to perfect. (Tertullian, De Bapt. 10, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 674)

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