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December 10, 2017

Every Advent John the Baptist comes back to haunt me.  I mean when was the last time you saw a man in the wilderness wearing camel’s hair and leather belt, eating honey and locusts and pointing his finger at the people and shouted” “Repent!”  Of course when you were in the wilderness you would be happy having even banana leaves to keep you warm and when you were hungry you might eat everything.  I ate banana roots, frogs, snakes, lizards, crickets, and anything else I could find for months during the war.  Maybe living like that made John the Baptist tough.

We might well wonder if the prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist took any pleasure or got any satisfaction out of the role they had to play.  No doubt they felt called by God to this special task, but they must have felt uncomfortable saying things to people what they did not want to hear.  The people in exile or under the Roman dominion might enjoy the first part of their message: "the Lord is coming."  But the second part: "you must repent and get ready for his coming," who wants to be told that?  The bad guys such as those who oppressed my people had to repent, not me; but Isaiah and John directed their message to the ordinary people who longed for deliverance.

Yet that is what we are reminded of each Advent season.  The ordinary people like you and me have to heed the voice of the Baptizer.  Often we do not want to be disturbed, yet there are some areas in our lives where we should be disturbed.  The valley of lacking charity, love, kindness should be lifted up.  The mountain and hill of pride should be made low.  The uneven ground of indifference should become level.  The rough places of selfishness should become a plain of care and compassion. Then we will see the glory of God.

With the birthday of Christ just a few weeks away, again the parish comes together for a special Parish Advent Mission with Fr. Lucien Larre.  I pray that you will enjoy and prepare yourselves well for the coming of Christ at Christmas.