Second Sunday of Advent
In the old style theatre you would have had the warm up guy, the warm up guy was the person who went on before the main act in order to get the audience going and build up their sense of expectation as they waited on the main event. This Sunday we hear about John the Baptist who was the warm up guy for Jesus and he certainly got the people’s imaginations going. He did a great job as Jesus warm up guy because of the sense of expectation that built among the people as he told them that there was one who was coming after him who was the long awaited messiah. Our Gospel reading tells us about john being the voice in the wilderness telling the people to prepare the way for the Lord calling them to repentance. John told them that what they were waiting for was finally coming. 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. He also tells us to make the necessary changes in our lives that will allow the “kingdom of heaven” to take root and flourish in ourselves as well as the communities where we live.
It’s time, John insists, for us to look at the world around us and see what we need to do and then get on with ite. Is there a person with whom we must be reconciled? Are there wounds from the past that need to be healed? Are there problems we have not addressed? And to add to that list: what are we doing about the larger issues that affect, not just us but our community and our world – care for the poor, the stranger in our midst, and the other responsibilities we hear from these biblical texts each week? John urges us to take the initiative, when he tells us to “Repent!” His distant urging comes into the here and now of our lives. Are we waiting for some other person to do something we should really be doing ourselves? We are called over these weeks of Advent to prepare and we certainly do that as we get the presents and all the secular things that go with the Christmas celebrations so that we want for nothing. That is not the preparation that John the Baptist calls us to when he tells us to prepare a way for the Lord. Advent is the time when we are reminded that we have to wait for God to come into the world. We cannot grasp God, we don’t see him; yet wait for God to let himself be known. When we wait for God, our waiting is a time of prayer filled preparation as we testify to our own poverty and to God’s greatness. 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 ears. It is a pressing invitation for all of us to open our hearts and minds to welcome the Son of God who comes among us to make the kingdom of God the Father manifest to all. As we continue our own Advent Journeys let us hear the call of John the Baptist to repent and make straight the paths for the lord.