Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 191: Isaiah 54:1-10. Psalm 30:2-4.5-6.11-12.13.
We all need others to help us on our journey of life and this includes
those who are supportive of our spiritual journey toward the realm of God.
Jesus needed his cousin John the Baptist to prepare his way. John was
active in gathering people who came to the border of the desert and
listened to his call for right living in their dealings with one another
and baptism in water through forgiveness. Sinners, soldiers,
tax-collectors and good people were in the crowd that followed him and many
listened and changed their lives because of his preaching. His main task
however was to herald, to witness, and to prepare the way for the Lord who
was coming into this world and already was in the “world.” (see John 1:1-18
especially verses 6-8, 12-14).
In accepting the baptism of John the plan of God was coming about for those
who believed the Baptist. Soon they would learn that he was really
announcing the time of the Lord, the Messiah, the One who is to Come. He
was the first one to give us the spirit of Advent. Those who listened to
John would certainly listen to the one he was announcing and preparing for,
namely, Jesus of Nazareth.
Renewal is part of the story of the Baptist and Jesus too in Mark’s Gospel
declares this at once as he starts his active ministry: “Now after John was
arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and
saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:14).
Repentance and renewal are not to be feared. God is a God of love and
peace. We listen to Isaiah describing who God is, “My love shall never
leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy
on you.” (Isaiah 54:10).
As the center of salvation history begins Jesus helps the crowd who
experienced the preaching of John the Baptist to come to know that John is
that voice crying in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” They did
not go out in the desert to see someone who was a wisp of the wind shaking
a bush, nor someone who was clothed likely the lilies of the field. No
they found a true prophet of justice, peace, and mercy. They move from
curiosity to conviction and from conviction to belief in both John and
Jesus. John is certainly that messenger who was sent ahead to prepare the
way for the one who is the truth, the way, the justice,and the peace that
we all yearn for. We do well in this third week of Advent to know and
accept the role of the Baptist in this moment of renewal and repentance.
We are being prepared to follow Jesus on the way but first we must await
him as we do in Advent. John showed us how to wait for the one who is to