The Feast of the Epiphany is the oldest in the Liturgical Calendar after Easter and Pentecost and Epiphany was celebrated long before even Christmas itself came to be regarded as a feast.
We have here today part of the only story in the Gospels from the boyhood of Christ it gives the account of his Presentation in the Temple. The second part is the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. In the Gospel of Luke these passages act as a kind of a bridge from the story of Christ’s birth (the Infancy narratives) which is a sort of ‘overture’ before moving to the main theme which is Christ’s public ministry.
Christmas is one of the most loved feast days in the Church. Even in our ever more secular society it is a feast still celebrated by most of the population. People, whether of other faiths or of none, find themselves able to find meaning in it.
We have now come to the last Sunday of Advent and we are in the immediate preparations for Christmas. Each year Christmas seems to come around quicker and quicker and it is as if Advent hardly lasts any time at all.
Today we turn to John’s Gospel and consider the person and role of John the Baptist. You will notice from the Scripture references at the start of the reading that we are dealing with two separate passages from the first chapter of John’s Gospel.
On this Second Sunday of Advent, we hear the account of the ministry of John the Baptist as given by the Evangelist Mark. We should pay attention since in the coming liturgical year we are going to work our way gradually through the whole of Mark’s Gospel.