Crying Out in the Desert

Photo by Viajante Dibujero on

Greetings on this the Second Sunday of Advent
Readings: Is 11:1-10; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Rom 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12
Notes: These are very helpful writing for today’s reflection and homily.

Ever get lost walking or driving? It makes for a laser focus on getting out, yes?

In a parched desert, one wishes to find either an oasis and a way out.

O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, In a land parched, lifeless, and without water (PS 63:2).

It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths (Matt 3:3 x-ref Isa 40:3).

The name “Elijah” means “the Lord is my God.”

Now I am sending to you Elijah the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day; (Mal 3:23). And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come (Matt 11:14).

Elijah and John, Prophets of the Lord share these things in common:

  1. One who receives a divine word.
  2. One who obeys divine instruction.
  3. One who conveys an effective divine word of threat and promise.
  4. One who speaks an effective human word of entreaty to God.

First reading
On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm
Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Second reading
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia Verse
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Gospel Portion
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

John is calling us to Oasis and a Way Out (later called The Way).

Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

John, you called us out.

At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance.

Here we can get into a linear perspective of time. Repentance then baptism. Baptism then repentance. Baptism as repentance. Baptism as the outter sign of an inner change. Simultaniously? Sequentially?

Only God knows.

Our common problem. John finally gets to the heart of the matter. Pharisees, Sadducees, John you and me, all have the same problem. His entreaty to God:

The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals.

What God wishes to do with us in our need for Oasis and a way out.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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