1/2 December £773.75
My dear friends in Christ,
In the gospel this weekend we hear of that strange and mysterious figure, John the Baptist. According to Luke, John is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy; he is that voice that cries in the wilderness, inviting us to prepare a way for the Lord.
The setting of the “wilderness” where the Baptist resides is itself a metaphor which compliments his message. The “wilderness” symbolises scarcity, a lack of ‘creature’ comforts and a basic existence. In such an environment, our false securities are stripped away, and a void becomes apparent. In such a situation, what does one depend on? The character of John answers that question – God! God was his only security, there was nothing else or no one else he could depend on. The spiritual lesson becomes apparent! The call to “prepare a way for the Lord” is at the same time an invitation to nurture in oneself a new and deeper dependence on God. While this is central to the spiritual life, it is easier said than done.
The wandering in the desert of the Israelites which is chronicled in the Old Testament is an example of human weakness in the face of such an invitation. The idea of trustfully putting oneself into God’s hands was tested time and time again, and on many occasions the Israelites simply bailed on it. In fact, they rebelled against God. The Baptist simply represents the challenge of trusting in God, but in a different format which is characterised by repentance and baptism; acknowledge your failings in the light of God’s calling (repentance) and putting yourself on a new pathway to discovering God (baptism). But this two-fold process can only be ‘journeyed’ in a spirit of openness, honesty and dedication.
As we know, when Jesus came there were people who were not willing to accept Him; they could not trust Him or acknowledge that God was working in Him. In other words, their hearts were closed…and nothing has changed. But in Advent, we look to ourselves and begin a process of self-evaluation, asking questions about our level of trust and commitment when it comes to our faith life.