Do you ever wonder why at times the Evangelists are so specific about Place, Time and Persons in their accounts of certain events? For example, in today’s Gospel, Luke gets very specific numerous times:
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.
God is neither abstract nor absent from our human reality. God created all things, all times, every person and continues in relationship with each aspect. Everything belongs to God.
In order that we might enter into a personal relationship with God, the Son of God, Jesus, entered the world as one like us in all things but sin. In order that we might live now and forever in right relationship with God, Jesus offered his life on the cross for our salvation, and promised to remain with us always until he comes again.
“The word of God came to John” in a specific place and time for God’s purpose and plan. John the Baptist was prepared as a man of faith to receive this message and mission from God and went forth to fulfill his mission of preparing the way for God’s only begotten Son.
Are we looking for the Lord each day of our life? Are we prepared to receive his living Word and fulfill it in our life?
We believe that God is always with us. But, do we truly understand our experience of how? The first reading from the Prophet Baruch puts it beautifully: “for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” How do we understand this as our experience today?
As we enter this second week of Advent, we are called to a heightened awareness of our experience of the presence of Jesus Christ who comes to us in this moment of salvation history; each person, wherever we are, precisely at this time.
Can we tell our personal story in similar terms as the Evangelist?
The word of God came to me, in this place, at this specific time, in this manner, and this is what I experienced, and this is what I am now doing to faithfully carry out the mission …
When we are capable of describing our experience of encountering Jesus, we are better able to understand God’s will, and thus equipped to faithfully fulfill it. This is necessary to ‘prepare the way of the Lord in our life.’ This is also necessary for us to carry out the mission that is ours by being credible witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus in our life.
I can say without a doubt that God works very directly in my life. Just this week, facing several major needs beyond my own control, I turned to the Lord in prayer, saying: “You know the needs of this local church , and you always answer. I leave these particular needs in your hands and trust that you will provide.” And, once again, in marvelous fashion, God provided beyond my expectations.
As we open ourselves humbly to God’s plan seeking to follow Christ more closely, let us see also the bonds that unite us together in Christ. In the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he uses a term that is quite helpful for our times. St. Paul reminds us that we share a ‘partnership for the gospel.’ We are in this journey of faith together!
Let us make the prayer of St. Paul our own as we prepare the way of the Lord this Advent and as we recommit ourselves to carrying on the mission of the Church with our own witness of faith:
And this is my prayer: that your love may increase more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.