2nd Sunday of Advent 

(Luke 3:1-6)

Rising sun LIThis is really ‘John the Baptist Sunday’. He is one of the central characters of the Advent season and he arouses our interest by his eccentric and his ‘out-of-the -ordinary ways.’

His birth to elderly parents, Elizabeth and Zachariah, was extraordinary and his reaction in the womb to the presence of Jesus in His mother’s womb is a powerful sign to us from God.

John’s reason for existence and his total ministry is to point to his cousin, the Messiah, and to prepare the way for him. His mission statement is condensed in his proclaiming that ‘He must increase and I must decrease’. It is touching and interesting to note that John’s birthday is marked at the time of the summer equinox, when the sun begins to decline, and that the birth of Jesus, at the winter equinox, marks the time when the light begins to increase again. In order to attract people to hear his message John makes himself a spectacle, wears animal skins, and goes out to the desert. He draws people to hear him and then it is he who identifies the Lamb of God and directs us to Him.

John the Baptist is similar to many of the great prophetic figures of history. They are interesting in themselves, alarming and sometimes intimidating. But it is helpful to notice how their teachings and witness contain elements that alert us to the Gospel and the person of Jesus. Gandhi was a clear example and in our time people such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Nelson Mandela have also helped us to see the ‘way of the Lord’. If we prepare the path for the Lord, then surely” all mankind will see the salvation of our God”. (Luke 3:6)