2nd Sunday – Advent A
Here comes John the Baptist with guns blazing and a fiery message. Repent, change your ways! John was the son of a lowly village priest who would have been unfairly treated, taxed and exploited by the high priestly elites of the Jerusalem temple. He had first-hand experience of his family and kin being taken advantage of by the system. John’s attire and diet linked him to the great prophets of old who railed against injustice. His call to repent is a call to turn our lives completely around. Many people resist change. “We would rather be ruined than changed. / We would rather die in our dread / than climb the cross of the present / and let our illusions die” – W.H. Auden.
Advent, the arrival (of Jesus Christ), calls us to ‘repent’ which is something more foundational than being routinely sorry for sin. “It is to turn around and away from seeking more and more, to live more simpler lives, and to find our rest not in possessions but in God,” writes Peter McVerry SJ. That’s more like experiencing an earthquake of the heart and mind. We don’t and cannot bring it on. It happens to us and comes from the Spirit of God. In its aftermath we let ourselves be loved unconditionally as we move from a stance of insecurity and fear to one of generosity and love.
The coming of Jesus of Nazareth some two thousand years ago marked a turning point in human history. He came with the upbeat message of a new world order: the poor and afflicted would be treated like everyone else and the rule of the bully and the ruthless would come to an end. Peace would follow when mutual compassion prevailed, and people recognised their own faces in the faces of the oppressed, and their own hands in the hands of the oppressors. Enemies would become friendly neighbours. – Isaiah 11 (First reading today).
We each bring with us the desire to be top dog. We have likes and dislikes and tend to be suspicious. Advent offers the opportunity to pull in our horns and hone some positive attitudes. It’s a time to deeply make our own the reality that “God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son….” – John 3:15. It’s a time to be overcome and captured by “the love of God that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit….” – Romans 5:5. Let us focus this week on what God has done for us in sending his Son rather than on our efforts at doing things for God.
Fr. QQ – 11/30/2022
The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved – Victor Hugo.