The gospel theme of this week in the Advent season is that of John the Baptist, the itinerant preacher who acted as a bridge between the old
era of the Old Testament prophets and the new era that Jesus was to
John's preparation for the coming of Christ consisted of a call to
repentance, that is a turning away from that which was destructive to
embrace that which was wholesome and holy. John spoke out against what was wrong and corrupt in his society and as a result was imprisoned and finally killed.
He himself was unaware of who Jesus was and his role was apparently a
thankless task. However before he died he heard in prison of the
miracles of Jesus and therefore handed over the torch to him.
In our daily lives we are called to stand for what is right and it is
not an easy task. In fact throughout the world many are in prison as
John was, for speaking out for what is right.
This season of Advent is traditionally seen as a time of preparation,
of waiting for Christ's coming. The preparation is a spiritual one, we
turn to God to put ourselves in order, much as a confession before
receiving mass, in order to be ready for the coming of Christ in our
Part of that preparation means recognising that all is not well in our
own lives and in the lives of those around us. There must be justice
for those who are currently suffering and this means speaking out as
Christ came as a beacon in a dark world to give us life. In particular
we associate Christ's coming with the deaf hearing, the blind seeing
the poor having good news preached to them. Again if we are to see
that realized then it means speaking out.
There are many for whom life is no easy task and as I understand it
the Christian message means that those who are privileged have a
responsibility to ease their burden.
John's call for repentance or change not only is a call on our lives
as individuals but our life as a society.As a nation we need to
So this Advent as we turn in the journey of our own lives to embrace
that call to change, however small our response may be we will
encounter Christ and our Advent will become a time of hope, as we not
only enjoy Christmas but spiritually feed on the light, the hope, the
beacon of Christ, for this is the true meaning of Christmas.