Second Sunday of Advent

Every Advent, on the second and third Sundays, we focus our attention on John the Baptist, the prophet of God’s mercy. For Luke, the Baptist brings to an end the story of the Old Testament prophets and in so doing prepares the way for Jesus. The Prophets had insisted that God would come again. That is why John cries out in the words of Isaiah 40:3: 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. For every Christian Jesus represents what Israel was waiting for with expectant hearts. We should not be surprised, then, that for Luke, what Jesus does and says has universal implications: his reach is cosmic. Are we ready to let him touch all peoples and the whole of creation through the ethical and spiritual quality of our own daily lives? Will I open my life to Jesus’s compassion? Will I walk with and help the weak, the destitute, the sick and the hopeless? Am I open to being an advent person in real terms? Have I learnt with Martin Luther King Jr not to mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities while people suffer? A radical Advent life is one that understands that doing justice for the poor is proper worship of God. Am I ready to light my second purple candle, bright sign of my preparation for the Lord’s coming? Will I make room in my life for the-God-who-comes this week? Will I serve God’s interests or my own? What do I conceal behind the mask of piety?