Thursday 19 November 2015

2nd Sunday of Advent, year’C’ 2e dimanche de l’Avent, année ’C’

“John, son of Zechariah went throughout the whole Jordan area proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Ba.5,1-9 Ps.125 Ph.1,4-6,8-11 Lk.3,1-6

2nd Sunday of Advent, year ’C’

“In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the territories of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanius tetrarch of Abilene, and while the high priestess was held by Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah in the desert.”

Luke gives us precisions which enable us to understand the deep meaning of events he will talk about. He writes in the era of year 27 or 28 A.D.

For more than twenty years Judea is simply a province of the Roman empire. The Emperor Tiberius is far away, but the prefect Pontius Pilate administrates the country with a hand of iron. As for the high priest Caiaphas, already in place for the last ten years, he no doubt kept his position, more political than religious, due to an astute diplomacy of his. The blaze of nationalism is severely repressed and the sons of Israel are humiliated by their occupants. Their only hope can be in God alone. Types of monastic communities, bringing together men, women and young people, were created not far from the Dead Sea. They keep the esthetic traditions of the Esenin’s. And the word of God was on John, son of Zechariah, in the desert where the Holy Spirit had pushed him. Crowds go there to receive baptism from him. The birth of Jesus is not a small event that John the Baptist recounts to us. The region of the Jordan is like the centre of the Roman Empire. ’Prepare the way of the Lord!’ cries out John the Baptist.

God cannot bring about our salvation without us. He created us freely and with our freedom we can co-operate in his action. And so we enter into this visitation from God. God has begun his work in us in such a good way and he is going to continue it until the face of Jesus Christ will be reproduced on our own faces. And so God’s glory will be spread amongst the nations. The visible sign that this mystery has come about is that we love one another and that we welcome one another accepting, ourselves as we are, in His Love.

“John went through the whole Jordan area proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the

sayings of Isaiah the prophet : A voice of one that is crying in the desert : prepare a way for the Lord, make his path straight!’

The baptism of the Jordan was given by this young prophet himself, in the name of God who had sent him. Conversion wasn’t necessarily called for but the disciples were not to be content with proclaiming their ideal, they had to turn away from their sinful life, be resolutely orientated towards God so as to accomplish his Will, and prepare themselves for the forgiveness of sins which wouldn’t be lacking from the moment eh Kingdom o God will erupt in the world : ” Open up a way in the desert a road for the Lord! On the steppes make a road straight for our God!’ said Isaiah.

It won’t be just a few small existences that will be changed, it concerns all valleys, every mountain, all hills. The whole of our countryside will be affected. Let the roads be truly straight- this could mean may the structures of our society be no longer twisted- may there be no more oppression, but the hope of the Messiah who is coming.

We too are in exile in the places where we dwell, in our homes. We are aware of the limits in our communities and in our families!

Baruch declares with great force that God wants to make things anew :’ God has decided!’

But we need to participate in his work ’Jerusalem is clothed again with the clothes of the glory of God for ever!’

Jerusalem represents each of our lives gone through ordeals.

“Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be levelled, winding ways be straightened and rough roads made smooth, and all humanity will see the salvation of God.”

This road that the prophet talks about that needs to be flattened is the one that leads to Jerusalem. It is a road that God Himself is going to take with his poor ones. God will pass through the desert with them ; God is going to go back home with them to their country and his glory will be revealed. By opening up a road of God in the desert, the poor ones of Israel will find the road of their own freedom.

John the Baptist announced : ’Convert, for He is coming.’