2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
This weekend we hear about John the Baptist who was the herald of Jesus who said that there is one who is to come after me and I am not worthy to take the sandals of his feet. We hear in our gospel reading that Zachariah regained his speech when they came to name the child John. John’s task was to announce the coming of Jesus and to point to him when he came. John’s work was extraordinary. He was called to reawaken a sense of expectation among a people that had grown tired and distant from God as many have done in our present generation. John was called to bring renewal to institutional expressions of religion which, at the time, had so often become fossilized into mere formulae or external ritual. This too is what is happening within the Church in our present time under Pope Francis our Church is being renewed for the work that needs to be done in our present time. John attracted thousands to come out into the desert to see him. Tradition sees the desert as the place where God speaks to the heart of his people. It is from this solitary place of spiritual combat, the desert bordering the Jordan, that John appears “with the spirit and the power of Elijah” (Luke 7:17).By his word and his baptism with water, john must called the children of the covenant back to the Lord their God as he calls us today to come back to the Lord our God.
The figure of John serves as a warning, to all believers, to the Church and Church organizations of our need to draw our strength from Christ alone, rather than identifying with the cultural patterns or the Fads and fashions of the time, which in any case come and go. The Church is here in the present as it has been in past times to proclaim and live out the message of Jesus in every generation in season and out of season whether people at large like it or not. The Church and is not there in any way to be inward looking. The Church that is the people of god, you and I are called to constant renewal, to tear ourselves away from conventional expectations, attitudes and superficialities and centre ourselves completely on God. The Church in every age must become like John the Baptist, an uncomfortable reminder of how we must allow the truth of Jesus to break into our lives to enlighten the darkness that can at any moment enter into our lives or the life of the Church. As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist’s call to conversion sounds out in our communities.
It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God who comes among us to make the kingdom of God manifest to all of us. As we continue our Advent Journey let us hear the call of John the Baptist and put it into action in our lives.