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BECOMING THE CHANGE WE CRAVE. A reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Advent 2020
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sat, 12 Dec 2020

Readings: Is 40:1-5, 9-11; 1Pet 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8

    The “voice that cries in the wilderness” in Isaiah connects with our Gospel today. The linkage declares, “And so it was, that John the Baptist appears in the wilderness” (Mk 1:4). In the Gospel, prophecy is not merely fulfilled. But the fulfillment establishes the proper response to the prophetic warning as profound acts of renewal. The renewal must involve everyone, high or low in the society, rich and poor alike.

   My friends in Christ, every year at this time, we hear about the Baptist. Have you taken some time to study more and learn more about John the Baptist? I know that we already know many things about the only son of Zechariah. But those are the things taught in our catechism lessons several years ago today. What new lesson have you discovered concerning John? You could imagine a man like John, whose body must have been as rough as the camel’s skin that clothed him. We can also think of a picture of this man whom no razor touched his hair and bear. Indeed, what appetite was commanded by a menu of locusts – bugs, plus “wild” honey? How easily did John feed in a wilderness? John the Baptist is his parents’ only son; how did they take his call? Have you imagined this sort of life?

    Yet, “the new heaven and the new earth” (1Pt 3:13) that Jesus Christ inaugurates has John for its “greatest” herald. John leads the change of heart we all need for entering heaven. He prepared the way for meeting Christ on the first Christmas. John gives us the best picture of what an exemplary change means and how to achieve it. John the Baptist chose to become the very change that he craves to see in others. In that way, he practically triggered the revolution every need for meeting Jesus at Christmas. Because John is “urgent” as a person, his message too, is very urgent. Its demand is no less urgent: “Prepare the way of the Lord”!

     Most of the time, our talks are just words, and they hardly impress. But the clarity of words arrives with a straightforward push from John’s practical simplicity and honesty. The man is uncluttered. He has the self in control and often leaves it ultimately behind to become entirely open and totally available for God. What do you give up to give an excellent personal example? John’s humility is public knowledge, for example. That is why he engineers a practical and specific attitude of renewal in others. Have you ever admitted that Someone else could have a more useful idea for solving a festering need, challenge, or problem?  Today’s Gospel reports what John has to say: “Someone coming after me is more powerful than I am. I am not worthy to kneel and undo his sandals.”

   To better understand John’s essential message of repentace, we need to embibe John’s attitude of humility. We need to resolve this moment and today to put John’s call to repentance into practice. To prove that we can actually apologize for wrongdoing and act differently to make up for those we make to feel less human is urgent for Advent. Both John and the Lord Jesus speak to us and show us the examplary life patterns. Is it not written and proclaimed to us, the humble words of Jesus: “I am gentle and humble of heart”?

    Everyone needs to be involved in the renewal that John proclaims today so that all may have a share in the coming of Christ. Time has come to balance our fidelity to the Gospel with our compassionate, charitable, and practical responses to all those we meet or have as friends and families. The mounts of our vengeful habits and corrupt inclinations must now give way to the “change of our ways.” The valleys and gullies we carve out due to mutual anger must now be filled with the love that forgiveness and reconciliation brings.


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