Homily by Fr Carlos of Gethsemani on Dec. 5th, 2nd Sunday of Advent
In many cultures of the ancient world, kings, heroes and leaders were ushered in by omens and portents, nature wonders and astral alignments. In the Judeo-Christian faith it is through a human being in the person of John the Baptist that ushered in a Savior. Luke saw to it that the historical-incarnational aspect of the last prophet is rooted in human history. It is a real person situated in a particular place and time. The Precursor and Savior is found in our time and space, in our world and their influence is still with us today. We like John the Baptist must decrease and He, the Lord must increase in our private and social life. The rulers that Luke mentioned should not really have been there because in the beginning Israel did not have a king. God rule over them and God took care of them as long as they were faithful. But no, Israel would rather have a king to rule over them even against the warning of Samuel. Human kind today is just as stubborn. We would like to be governed, we rely on our systems that are so inadequate and only a few benefit from it. We are people who do not look into the future. Our plans are all in short terms. John came and announced the coming of the Savior who future is beyond time and whose power is beyond earthly power. Did they listen then? Are we listening now?
In John’s time Israel went through trying times: alien rulers have taken over, a far cry God’s rule which they once enjoyed, the kingdom was divided into four parts, and even worse, where there should have been only one high priest for life each time, there were two high priests: Caiphas, the high priest then and his father in law Annas also was a high priest and both were the power behind the throne because of Anna’s forceful character. And yet, inspite of all these irregularities it was God’s time. It was not just by chance that God sent his Son during the time of the Roman Empire. St. Paul formulates it well: When the fullness of time came God sent his own son, born of a woman, born under the law to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted children. Whatever one may say about the shortcomings of the Roman Empire it was providential for the arrival and the spread of Christianity. When the time was fulfilled, the designated time had come the word of God came to John in the desert. A quiet place where the word of God can be heard, where one meets the Lord. John was the last prophet and his greatness does not lie on his role as prophet but that he was faithful the word of God spoken to him. His humility in serving the Word. His total self-lessness in front of Jesus that he should decrease and Jesus must increase. Christians today are to take up the role of John to proclaim the kingdom that is to come by their conviction as shown in the way they live to a hostile and unbelieving world. Christianity for many has become a myth, an elusive reason to celebrate the real reason having receded back into our subconscious. Fully alive Christians should awaken the subconscious reason in the hearts of many why we celebrate. We become precursors too. We prepare for the coming of Christ the Lord now and in the future. Whenever a king came for a state visit in the Orient, highways had to be made in the desert, hills and mountains leveled off and valleys filled up with soil and gravel. A way makes it possible to travel. The Lord came to us and we can go to the Lord. John the Baptist preached about Christ. This is the role we have taken as Christian: to make known Christ to the world. We personally must prepare the way for the Lord, cutting off the hills of our pride and filling the valleys of our indifference, filling up our defects, filling them with sincerity and a desire for his coming. Our faith is not based on myth or legend. It is a reality just as you and I are real for the Precursor of the Savior lived in the same world as we are living subject to time and space. Subjected to the powers that were. The humility of the precursor is a good preparation for the coming of Christ on Christmas.