Take off your robe of mourning and misery
1. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God”( Lk3:1-6). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel for 2nd Sunday of Advent.
2. The season of advent is a time of hope and joyful expectations. The first reading of this Sunday begins by inviting Jerusalem to take off her robe of sadness and put on splendour and glory of God. The prophet Baruch assures the people that God will do something new and favourable for them. The gospel shows the realization of that prophecy. God intervened in human history to invite man to a partnership for salvation.
3. The gospel begins with some historic data, mentioning the time of God’s intervention. It was in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontus Pilate was the governor of Judea while Herod was the tetrach of Galilee during the high priesthood of Anas and Caiaphas. At that time the word of God jumped all these important personalities and went to the desert to an obscure man named John. God charged with with the responsibility of waking the consciences of the people to make them ready for the new era that the prophet has announced. By doing this God underlines two important facts: God does not need politicians and great men to change the world, God needs the simple folks, as simple as they are to partner with him for the birth of a new era.
4. What is our role in this partnership? Our role, according to John and Isaiah is to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his path so that he can come to us without obstructions. How will this be done? Four things:
√. Fill up every valley.
√. Bring down every mountain and hill.
√. Make crooked ways straight.
√. Make rough ways smooth.
One will certainly need a bulldozer to accomplish these tasks if the works were to be physical. But no, this work will be done in our own life and not outside.
5. The call to take off the robe of mourning and misery and prepare the way for the Lord will demand looking into our lives to see the things that are there which will make it difficult for God to complete the good work that he has started by inviting us to partner with him. A look into the past will reveal what has been compromised with regard to our duties to God, to the society and to ourselves. A look into the present will reveal what is being compromised. These must be put right so that the future promised by God through his prophet will begin to manifest.
6. Your robe of splendour and glory is ready in God’s hand. Drop your garment of sorrow. Make no effort to manage the old garment by justifying your sins as human weakness because the new robe cannot be worn on top of the old. Have the courage to be reconciled with God and man and break free from compromising situations no matter how beneficial they may seem to you. Make this advent a historic one that marks the beginning of your new collaboration with God. ©Vita, 05/12/21.