We come across the prophet Isaiah a lot during Advent and also in the Christmas season. The first reading this weekend is from chapter 40 of the Book of Isaiah and when we look at it in the light of the New Testament we recognise that it is the prophecy speaking of John the Baptist and his role in salvation history. The Gospel from Mark links in with the prophecy as do the other three Gospels. All in some way speak of John in the light of what Isaiah says in chapter 40. Isaiah chapters 40 to 55 are the second part of the whole book and in some bibles has the title of The Book of the Consolation of Israel. It is one that is full of hope because historically it is written around the time that the people of Israel exiled in Babylon were close to being freed from captivity. The details in the book of consolation prophesies the freedom from captivity for those in Babylon and also the freedom we receive from sin and death through the good news of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist is the one who prepares the people of Israel of his generation for the coming Messiah in his preaching and baptizing at the River Jordan.
St. Mark tends to be very direct when it comes to describing things. There is no birth narrative — he opens by referring to the prophet Isaiah and what he says and by the end of chapter one Jesus is baptised, has started his ministry, chosen four of the disciples and curd some people including St. Peter’s mother-in-law.
Please note — beginning next week, if you would like to have a loved one’s anniversary remembered on the bulletin please contact the Parish Office.