This discussion and set of reflection questions helps youth consider John the Baptist’s message that “One mightier than I is coming after me.” Some things are worth waiting for.
Waiting is difficult. And we spend a lot of time waiting. Here are a few interesting facts collected in a survey done by Timex, a watch company:
- We spend about 21 minutes waiting for somebody else each time we go out.
- We spend about 38 hours each year waiting in traffic.
- On average, human beings spend about 6 months of their entire lives waiting in line
Waiting can be boring and frustrating.
- What are some times you have spent waiting recently?
- Is there anything you can do to make waiting easier?
- Is it easier to wait if you are looking forward to the end result?
Most people agree that waiting for something good to happen is easier than waiting for something we don’t care about, or even worse waiting for something we dread.
Read Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”Mark 1:1-8
This gospel paints quite the picture of John the Baptist. He is out in the desert, living and looking something like a wild man. Yet he has a large following.
- Why do you think people were attracted to John the Baptist?
But John the Baptist tells his followers that someone greater than him is coming. They are supposed to wait for someone even better. Very few leaders and celebrities have the type of humility which John the Baptist had. He was willing to tell his followers that when Jesus arrived they should follow him instead.
- If you were a follower of John the Baptist, how might you react to the message that you were waiting for somebody even greater?
Advent is a time for waiting. We are preparing to receive Jesus into our hearts at Christmas. Just as John the Baptist preached repentance before the arrival of Jesus, we are called to conversion as we wait for Him. John said to make the paths straight, to flatten the hills, to raise valleys. He was talking about getting rid of things which were in the way.
- What are some ways we can prepare during Advent?
- What sort of things can get in the way of preparing for Jesus? How can we get rid of these obstacles?
- Can you name some concrete activities we can do to change our hearts while we wait? (Sacrament of Reconciliation, service to others, prayer…)
This week, commit to take one or more of those actions. If you have not received the Sacrament of Reconciliation recently, this would be an especially meaningful step.