Dear Followers of the Christ,
We proclaim the gospel from the beginning today, Mark 1:1-8. We hear on this Second Sunday of Advent urgency from John the Baptist, to prepare a path for Christ Jesus. John is not suited to untie the sandal strap of Jesus, yet his voice echoes down the generations to help us prepare our hearts for his coming again.
Advent unsettles us. It is designed to help us untie the bonds of our earthly desires and help us focus on the real message of Christ Jesus in his second coming at the end of time. Our temptation in the Advent season is to domesticate this message. We can’t tame John or Christ’s desire for us, to save his people. We are so used to making Advent a time of serene nostalgia or sappy sentimentality. Advent is a radical grace that pierces through our stubborn ways and ignites a vigor and hope for our own lives and the world. Advent gets us off the couch and into the world bearing within our lives a new way of seeing our salvation.
We do not hear in these beginning weeks of Advent about waiting for a baby to be born or to build a cozy fire and sip eggnog. Instead, we are to witness how the world is in need of such a hope that frees people from injustice, war, violence and hunger. Advent rouses within the hearts of the faithful a time to reach down within our own convictions and live a more authentic life.
Advent shakes us out of our complacency. The texts and scriptures are meant to help us let go our earthly attachments, our addictions to violence, hatred and shootings, our inner addictions to drugs and our convictions that we always possesses the correct answers even to the most complicated answers. What we are waiting for is a radical conversion to hope, love and harmony among every people and nation. This begins with us holding up to the Light of Christ the darkness we possess within our lives, the lack of faith we have, and the hope that we can surrender all earthly life into the glory of God’s eternal presence.
We hear from Isaiah, the paradoxes that we face and the hope for our world when faith makes a home within us. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain will be made low and the rugged land will be made plain. We hold within our lives the potential to change the world when faith is restored within our hearts and hope is lived every day, no matter the obstacles or barriers. As Isaiah says, “Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed.”
I encourage you to take stock of your life in this holy season. Ponder again, the salvation and love you wish to possess from God and reflect on how you will live this wonder well beyond the Christmas Season.
Blessings to you in these Advent days,