DEC. 6. ADVENT. WK 2. SUN. (B) MK. 1. 1-8
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
Clearly the central message of this reading is the decision by Almighty God to send messengers to guide and teach his people, something he has done since the dawn of creation via people like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, and others; - in fact, God has never left us “alone”, but has always “accompanied his people” on their journey of life.
And this is exactly what the season of Advent is highlighting, namely the arrival in Bethlehem of God’s ultimate, and final Prophet and messenger; - Jesus Christ; - the Son of God!
If only we could get our heads around this truth, that the Church is constantly reminding us of; - that God has sent the ultimate Prophet, his Son, to be our teacher, our guide and our saviour; - and yet we have so many other earthly interests we barely give Jesus Christ the time of day?
Sadly, the main reason for this is we lack an awareness of our need for a Divine teacher, and we see ourselves as well able of living our earthly life without either assistance or guidance; - sentiments that are founded on Pride and Self-love.
These sentiments “cause” us to act independently of our Creator, and to see ourselves as being capable of living our lives in the way we want. We believe we have no need of a “messenger” or teacher, or Redeemer; - as we know “how we want to live!”
The very fact we have these opposing views means one of us is wrong; - either ourselves, or our Creator! God believes we need a Redeemer and Teacher, and so he sent us one!
The problem is we do not agree, and so we do not give Christ’s Teachings the attention they deserve; - preferring to heed “the message of the World!” and largely ignore Christ’s message!
What a sad and tragic situation? The creature believes he has no need to heed the message of the Son of God; - nor to ponder the example and teachings of his life?
Advent provides us with a further invitation, and opportunity, to rectify this situation; - to amend our lives and heed the teachings of our the Son of God. A change that will require Humility, Mortification, Charity, Prayer and Sacrament; - teachings in accord with what John the Baptist, Christ, his Church, and the Saints tell us when they invite us, yet again, to “Repent”!