Second Sunday of Advent

The Prophet Isaiah

And on that Day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse

The Tree of Jesse, representing the ancestry of Jesus Christ. Ivory panel from Bamberg (?), Bavaria, ca. 1200.

The Tree of Jesse, representing the ancestry of Jesus Christ. Ivory panel from Bamberg (?), Bavaria, ca. 1200.

Todays Gospel begins:

John the Baptist appeared….

But who is this John before his ministry?  The following Gregorian chant on the life of St. John combines the apocryphal story of his early life and the Scriptures to complete the story of Christ’s Herald. In a Advent Retreat yesterday I mentioned the importance of Apocryphal Literature to “fill in” the stories of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist and other New Testament figures  I would direct you to three resources:  The Apocryphal New Testament edited by J.K. Elliott; The Apocryphal Jesus, Legends of the Early Church, edited by J.K.Elliott (a very good abridged version of the former,) and  The Golden Legend, Readings on the Saints, Volumes 1 and 2 by Jacobus de Voragine, translated by William Granger Ryan. A further resource I have used which combines art and apocryphal literature is  Art and the Christian Apocrypha edited by David R. Cartlidge, J. Keith Elliot.  I would encourage you to read in the Apocryphal New Testament a little known legend surrounding John and the massacre of the Innocents. It is found in The Protoevangelium of James 22.1-3.

The imagery in this video is taken from the high reliefs in Amiens Cathedral, France. If you do not know French the images will convey the tale as they did with our ancestors of the Faith.

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About Monsignor Mark Richard Lane

I am a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Richmond. I am also a presenter in the Theology and Symbolism in Art from the art of the catacombs to modern art. My current research is on the duplicity of art in 19th Century America.
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