(2nd Sun. of Advent – B)
by: Msgr. Boy Villarruz
I – Introduction:
– St. Mark starts the story of Christ, not with his birth.
– It began with the DREAMS of the prophets long, long time ago – prophets like Isaiah when he said in our 1st reading today (Is. 40:1-5, 9-11): “A Shepherd will lead the return of the people Israel from the Babylonian exile wherein He will build a road across the desert.”
II – Message:
– But then, there was a problem. All of the sudden the voices of the prophets stopped.
– It was silent for 300 hundred years.
– The Jews thought, the dream of a Messiah had vanished.
– But it was a sign that the next & the last prophet that will come out will introduce the Messiah.
– That last prophet was John the Baptist, the 2nd cousin of our Lord.
– What did this man do to us?
1st: He introduced to us – the desert:
– In the Bible, the desert would mean a place of encounter w/ God.
– It was in the desert that the people of Israel met God & learnt his ways.
– It was in the desert that they became God’s people & the Lord became their God.
– It was in the desert that Christ spent 40 days & nights before He began his ministry.
– It was in the desert that they (including Christ) discovered & deepened their personal relationship with God.
– By calling the people into the desert, John the Baptist was calling them to let go of their false hopes & securities & learn to hope & trust in God.
2nd: He showed to us – his lifestyle:
– By his dressing & eating habits, he showed us that the meaning of life is not to be found in the abundance of material possessions.
– John showed us that simplicity of life & detachment from unnecessary cares & worries of social life will free our hearts for a personal relationship with God.
– We have our own hills & valleys in life that make it difficult for God to reach us or save us.
– These obstacles have to be leveled if we want to reach salvation.
3rd: And most importantly, He revealed to us – his calling that is still very relevant even today:
– John belongs to the family of priests, like his father, Zechariah.
– They expected him to practice his priesthood in the temple.
– But he practiced it in the desert & in the river Jordan – calling people to repentance & prepare for the coming of the Messiah.
– Why? Because that was his calling.
– Like John the Baptist, we have our own calling from God.
– Let us remember this saying: “You cannot choose your calling. It chooses you. You have been blessed by God with special skills that are yours alone. Use them well & forget about wearing another’s hat. A talented & skilled chariot driver can win a gold & be renowned. Let him pick apples & he will starve.”
III – Conclusion:
– In this season of Advent, the Church extends to us the call of John the Baptist.
– It is an opportunity to renew ourselves, as Peter in the 2nd reading (2 Pt. 3:14) says: “While waiting for the Day of the Lord, let us make an effort to be found w/out stain or defilement & at peace in his sight.”
– When we do this, then we are on the way to true repentance responding to call of John the Baptist.
– Everytime the Israelites would encounter problems, they would always cry out: “When Lord, when are you coming to save us.”
– It is now time for the Lord to say also to us: “When my sons & daughters, when will I find you?”
– Let us pause for a moment of reflection.