On this Second Sunday of the Advent time, St. John the Baptist enters on the scene (Matthew 3, 1-12). He arrives with his message about God’s future, which he called the Kingdom of Heaven. The Baptist’s preaching was simple: “Repent!” His version of “repentance” is simply (yet profoundly): “Admit that you’ve gotten it wrong, allow God to change your direction, and make ready for something to come, something bigger than you can think of.”
St. John deliberately pulls the rug out from under all of us who have found ways to justify, rationalize, and otherwise silence the demands and responsibilities that come with being “chosen” by God. He challenges us to see more clearly all that goes into following Jesus in a real and meaningful way.
St. Matthew’s description of the Baptist is that of a “wild man,” but let’s remember that he is looking at us right in the eye, all these years later. We hear the echo of his voice and we cannot afford to turn away. The Word of God is alive for us, so our defenses against it must come down.
In some ways, we have created a God who is nothing like the God St. John proclaims. We have taken out the fire of his image and replaced it with trying to “domesticate” God, creating a “softie” who cares little about justice, sinlessness, obedience, and commitment.
Let us pray. “O God, have mercy on your people. Grant us the grace to turn to you with our whole heart, mind, and soul, especially in this Advent season. Lead us to the everlasting life and joy you have prepared for us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”