SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Mk 1: 1-8
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,make his paths straight,’”
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Camel’s hair? Locusts and wild honey? What would Martha Stewart say? But do you really think John would care one wit what she or anyone else thought of him?
Here’s a wild man from the desert speaking truth to power, calling all to repentance. And his approval ratings were at 90%! But John didn’t care about ratings. He was listening to another Voice.
In the stillness of the desert John learned who he was and who he wasn’t. A prophet? Yes. A Messiah? No! To know who we are and who we are not is real wisdom. To speak truth to power and be willing to pay the price for it is the mark of true freedom. Few of us get there.
What holds us back? An aversion to locusts? Disdain for itchy camel’s hair? Keeping our ratings at 90%? There are 1000 ways to squelch the Spirit. What’s yours?
Free me, Lord, from all that holds me back from accomplishing what You would have me do, that distracts me from becoming who You created me to be.
I long to belong to You more fully, for there alone is true freedom. Teach me to listen in the stillness of my own desert to the sweet, sweet sound of Your Voice.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!