Homily for 5 December 2021 by Fr. Joe Tedesco
Second Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5: 1- 9. Phil. 1: 4-6, 8-11. Luke 3: 1 – 6
John the Baptist’s words echo the End Time Prophesy of last week’s gospel. This reminds us that we are in process – one day it will happen, Jesus the Christ will come in glory – that’s the revelation. That’s our hope.
When we listened to Luke today, we heard that, in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, when Pilate was governor of Judea etc., John the Baptist proclaimed that Christ will come. He was preparing us for the coming. So, it’s clear, historic and true; Christ is coming again.
Because we know Jesus has come. On Christmas Eve we will hear Luke announcing the historic moment. Caesar Augustus decreed all should be enrolled when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So, Joseph went up Galilee to Judea with Mary to Bethlehem. And she gave birth to her first-born son.
Advent means arrival – and that means that now we are part of the story. Because Jesus arrived and proclaimed the Good News – The kingdom is within you. And so, we are waiting for the fulfillment of the Kingdom. And Christ coming again. His arrival is at hand, in us and through us. It happens by our lives of faith and trust in Christ. Living as He has taught us.
This fulfillment happens little by little, really one person at a time. Are we ready to take our place in the drama? To announce his coming again and again? How do we do it?
We get our clue from John the Baptist today. He resisted the institutions; he gave up the heredity claim of priesthood of his father Zachariah. He opted out of all the stuff that goes with it. He lived frugally in the desert– the place to meet God. We know something about that!
John was a wild man in the best sense of that term. He was free! Free to proclaim the truth, he was not boxed-in by the culture wars of his day. He was so secure in his self-determination with a clarity of his honesty and integrity of his life. He could critique authority figures and name the truth all needed to hear. Can we?
Can we move away from the pre-determined notions of our consumer society, our polarized world, and listen to the rhythms of God’s word within, motivating us to respond in love, with openness to life as it is in the real world for most folks? Truly announcing the Kingdom and living out it’s values now. Jesus gives us this hope. Because we hope in his word, in his promise of new and enduring life. We stake our lives on the power of His life to prevail.
We know the values of the Gospel, the dignity of each person, the rule of love and right, that all should live by. Realizing we are the human community – all people – that Christ came to save by his life and love.
It is seeking this justice, being instruments of this justice in the world. We are the players the world is waiting for now, to be engaged with righteousness – that is, a right relationship with God and, therefore, with all. You can’t have one without the other. This is salvation history isbeing lived out in our time, right now.
Of course, this touches us right where it hurts. In our conscience! We know our limitations, our prejudices, our narrow vision that, at times, gets in the way of accepting others as they are. Our call is finding ways to navigate lovingly in every situation. This is the advent story now for us.
This reminds me of a quote from Herman Hesse’s novel Damien. He wrote, “All I wanted to do, was to live from the promptings that came from my true self, why was that so difficult??
Sounds right on target for today’s world. We really need to touch the true self – which comes from our center. Comes from God. To hold on to the real values that matter, that celebrate life. Advent is the time we can focus on the God within, who has already come to us. The question now for us is, to get in touch with: how am I bringing Christ to the world? How do I in-flesh him? Living Advent – will get us there. Living in attention and hope.
Let the scriptures feed your prayer – stir the promptings that are already in your heart and live them more profoundly and then feel the Kingdom coming to life in you.
There’s our Advent journey. We have three more weeks to experience all that God desires for us to be ready to celebrate his coming again.