Second Sunday of Advent Peace – The voice of one crying in the wilderness – Mark 1:1-8 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer for The voice of one crying in the wilderness – Mark 1:1-8

I pause and slowly calm myself. I make the sign of the cross, becoming more deeply aware of God’s presence within me and in everything that surrounds me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the gift of being moved by God’s word, which I am now allowed to read, listen to, ponder, and allow it to shape Christ within me (Gal 4:19), that I may become merciful, just as the heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). I ask for this in my own words or by using the following:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for John the Baptist. Help me, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to understand more deeply the message of the beginning of your Son’s joyful news and how I can lead people to Him as John the Baptist did.”

Please grant me the grace to be able to listen from the outside and from within. From the outside, the words I read, from within, the feelings and impulses that arise. Slowly, I begin to read the passage from the Gospel. Word by word. Line by line. I gaze upon Him who speaks to me.

2. Reading – Listening: The voice of one crying in the wilderness – Mark 1:1-8 

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.”

3. Thoughts on the Gospel: The voice of one crying in the wilderness – Mark 1:1-8 – Meaning and Commentary

Everything has a beginning, even God’s joyful news that Jesus proclaims to us. It has predecessors who prepared for its arrival. It came to us through people and events. Therefore, in contemplating this text, it’s right to ask: Who showed me the way to Jesus? Have I helped someone discover God’s joyful news? Have I been a precursor to anyone?

At the beginning and end of Mark’s Gospel, we encounter the title: Son of God. Throughout, it explains how to understand and proclaim the central truth of our faith: that Jesus is the Son of God. To indicate the beginning of the joyful news, he quoted the prophets Malachi and Isaiah.

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In their texts, we see the hope that lived in people’s hearts in Jesus’ time. They hoped for the coming messenger as proclaimed by Malachi, one who would prepare the Lord’s way (Mal 3:1). They also hoped for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about God’s messenger (Isaiah 40:3).

Just as then, hope in God’s joyful news is alive today. To proclaim it, it’s essential to discover the hope nurtured in people’s hearts and show how it can be realized through faith in Jesus Christ. Hope dies last!

Mark did what we continue to do today. He used the Scriptures to illuminate life’s facts. By referencing the prophecies, he showed that with the arrival of John the Baptist, who initiated a significant movement among the people, the people’s hope began seeking answers and becoming realized. All Judea and the people of Jerusalem went out to him! The seed of good news began to sprout and grow.

The people hoped for Elijah to come and restore life to the community. Elijah was known as a man who “wore a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist” (2 Kings 1:8). Similarly, John wore camel’s hair, indicating clearly that he would fulfill Elijah’s prophetic mission (Mark 9:11-13). At that time, many thought John the Baptist was the Messiah (Acts 19:1-3). To aid their discernment, Mark reports John’s words that he is only a forerunner to the true Messiah and that his task is to show the way to Jesus.

At the beginning of his Gospel, Mark wanted to convey how to read our history. The start, the seed of God’s joyful news, is hidden in our lives, our past, and the life story we live because God the Father is present in all of this through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Hence, it’s crucial to constantly remember what God has done in the past, in the old and new covenants, and in our history because this is how God continues to work today. Whoever loses memory of their past loses their identity and doesn’t know where they come from or where they’re going.

The proclamation of the joyful news brought novelty that began to grow among people. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to it and grant us the strength to help open others’ eyes to see it, to recognize the liberating and transformative presence of God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, working in the everyday events of our lives.”

4. Meditation – Thinking

I am now reflecting on the heard Word of God. I am looking at Jesus and other individuals in the passage. I am observing how the Word of God touches my thoughts and feelings, how it reveals God to me and me to myself and others in Him. The following thoughts or questions can also be helpful:

  • What delighted or surprised me the most in the text?
  • What does the text tell me about Jesus and His mission, and what does it reveal about me and my mission?
  • Who has shown me the way to Jesus, and to whom have I shown it? Whom else can I show it to, and how?”

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

I allow everything within me to fall silent. I am simply present in God, just as He is present in me. Perhaps from this silence and stillness, I will sense even more of God’s address and His desire for me to be always with Him and to do everything with Him and in Him…

7. Action

When I enter into a personal relationship with God, He transforms me, makes me more loving, and inspires me to take concrete action…

8. Prayer at the end

“Heavenly Father, I thank You for allowing me to be with Your Son and discover the beginning of His joyful message. Thank You for inviting me to lead people to Him. Please pour upon me the abundance of Your grace so that I may accomplish this.”

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is the time when I became aware of and articulate what was happening within me during prayer. The following questions can assist me in reflection:

  • What was happening during prayer? What feelings and thoughts could I discern within myself?
  • What did I learn about God, His relationship with me and others, and my own relationship with Him and others?
  • How did I conclude my prayer? What did I receive in it for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can jot down my insights, discoveries, and realizations. I also note where I encountered difficulties, as these can be valuable in understanding God’s relationship with me and my relationship with Him. They can also help me find a more suitable way of praying. Then, I express gratitude to the triune God for everything.

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

Text from the Bible – King James Version (kKJV)

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