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12/6/15 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Ron

Nothing in Sacred Scripture is there for nothing. So we need to reflect on how Luke introduces today's gospel message. It is a veritable who's who in a list of men in position of power placed there by the Romans. It can be argued that in doing so, the evangelist lent a certain air of credibility to what is to follow. What does follow, however, it what ironically causes the names of the high and mighty to pale in comparison to the individual that is introduced.

The political leaders named have a tenuous grasp of their role at best. Should one lose favor with the Romans, he could lose his position—if not his head—in a moment. The authority from which they have their function is of this world and therefore temporary by definition.

And juxtaposed in the same sentence with these men of lofty titles is John—who we are told received his commission from none other than God. Puts things in perspective. The political and religious leaders would count themselves among the elite, living the good life in the best homes and socializing among the cream of society. John comes in from the desert—a forbidding place where he fashioned his shabby clothes from the skins of animals and ate bugs to survive.

Today's gospel serves as a reminder that our Advent preparation is not for things of this world, but the next. This is an especially appropriate time to address our spiritual life. Personal and family prayer, making the sacrifices needed to improve ourselves, and giving of our time and resources to those less fortunate than ourselves are all critical aspects of our preparation. It is also an important time to reunite ourselves fully with God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

When we were in formation for the diaconate, one of our Sacred Scripture instructors pointed out something concerning the passage from Isaiah quoted in today's gospel. Depending on the interpretation, it can be read as: "A voice calls out in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord...'" Or, it can be read: “A voice calls out...'In the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.''' One reading places John in the desert when he speaks; the other has John telling us to go in the desert and prepare the way of the Lord. The meaning is the same now as then: go out into the most forbidding of places: the hospitals, the prisoners, the homeless, the shut-ins...

Advent is a time of preparation to meet God; at the end of our life, at the Second Coming of our Savior. Today's gospel puts life here on Earth in perspective. It helps us to elevate our focus from ourselves to others—and therefore to God. It is a time to renew and re-energize our Christian commitment to our fellow Man.

As exciting and joyful as the birth of the Christchild is, Advent represents something even more profound. It proclaims our reconciliation with God that the Incarnation and Passion of Jesus Christ won for us, and the gift of everlasting life that is ours. This is an extraordinary season in which to reflect upon how best to prepare ourselves for our eternity with Almighty God. 


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