St John the Baptist Prepares the Way – Mark 1:1-8 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer

I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…

In the wilderness the Lord, our God calls us. When it seems to us that there is nothing, that there is no security, that all plans have failed, that we face the darkness within us, the uncertainty that we are on the edge of ability, we are like in the desert – and there the Lord calls us. Because only when we let go of everything, when we have nothing to lean on, we have nowhere to run, He calls us. He is always with us, only we do not hear him because we are full of hills that hinder, valleys that lead us. He invites us to straighten our paths, and so he can come to us. Lord, here I am, in the desert, step, please, into my fears, confusions, darkness, anger, sadness, into my flight, my concealment. Let my performances collapse. Tune in, balance me, please, on yourself, and show me the way to fertile land.

2. Reading – Listening:  – St John the Baptist Prepares the Way – Mark 1:1-8 – Meaning and Commentary

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b] 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”[c]—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”[d]

4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”

See also:

3. Thoughts on the Gospel – St John the Baptist Prepares the Way – Mark 1:1-8 – Meaning and Commentary

The life of St John the Baptist was a glowing signpost for the people. He directed them to the coming of Jesus Christ and pointed to the coming of his kingdom. We read in the Bible that John the Baptist was already filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb of his mother Elizabeth (Lk 1:15). When Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth, she felt the child move in her body (Luke 1:41). The fire of the Spirit blazed in John. He was the messenger of the coming Messiah. The Spirit led him into the wilderness, where he grew at the word of God and went through various trials. The clothes he wore were reminiscent of the prophet Elijah (see 2 Kings 1: 8).

John broke the silence after the prophets of previous centuries as he began to explain God’s word to the people of Israel. His message was similar to that of the Old Testament prophets, who called the people of God to repentance because of their unfaithfulness and awakened true repentance in them. At the same time, he wanted to awaken in them an interest in the coming Christ in order to recognize and accept him.

Jesus says that John the Baptist was more than just a prophet (Luke 7:26). He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness (John 1:23; Isa. 40: 1-3). He completed the mission of the prophets, which began with Elijah (Matt. 11: 13-14). What the prophets had carefully sought, and what the angels knew in advance, was now completed when John prepared the way for the coming of the Anointed One of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. With John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the renewal of the human race through the “likeness of God” in Jesus Christ.

John’s baptism is for repentance – turning away from sin and taking on a new way of life according to God’s word. Our baptism in Jesus Christ with water and the Spirit reborn us for the children of God. We become sons/daughters of God in Christ. We become partakers of all that is given to Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of Heavenly Father. What is his is also ours. Our baptism allows us to enter the kingdom of God (Jn 3: 5). The word of God has the power to change us through the Holy Spirit and shape our feelings, thoughts, words, and actions through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can re-present it in the middle of the world, where we live and work. Like John the Baptist, we are called to point to Jesus Christ, to direct others to Him, and to lead them to Him with everything we are and live. In this way, we are His living witnesses.

We ask Jesus Christ over and over again to be open to His gift of the Holy Spirit, who can regenerate and empower us to be His living and faithful witnesses and to work with Him in building the kingdom of God.

See also:

4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

  • John invites us to listen to the word of God. What opportunity does Advent offer me to listen to the word of God a little more?
  • In what area does Jesus invite me to allow Him to take me into the wilderness? That my performances fall apart and He shows me the way? I ask the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to maintain confidence in Him, to show me the light and the way forward.

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence, I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving, and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action).

8. Prayer at the end

Lord, thank you for taking me into the desert so that what is to be torn down can collapse. This puts an end to the influence of the evil that lies to me. Thank you for being with me in the desert and giving me drink and food. You give me hope that there is a path that leads me forward. You are the Light on the mountain that leads me to the Promised Land. You are the only one who can show me the way because you are the Comforter and the way of joy.

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel about the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others, and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings, and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. With a prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si

Text from the Bible – New International Version (NIV)

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!