Come In, Lord
2nd Sunday of Advent (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

There is a penitential element to the season of Advent. The Advent season beside being a season of joyful expectation is also a season of repentance. This is symbolized by the violet color of the vestments. The figure of the season is St. John the Baptist, portrayed in this Sunday’s Gospel as “one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (Mk. 1: 3). ”

Action starter: What hinders you from inviting Jesus into your life?

As a Nazarite, John the Baptist was dedicated to God from the day of his birth. Nazarites do not shave or cut their hair. He looked strange “clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey (v.6).” His whole life-mission was to prepare the way of the Lord, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him (Jn. 3:28).” As one who brings to mind the great prophets of the Hebrew tradition, John was not lacking in disciples. Yet he pointed his disciples to Jesus as the Messiah and he faded away, “He must increase, but I must decrease (Jn. 3:30).” He met a prophet’ death.

Belonging to the spokesman of God, the prophet’s voice is both awesome and fascinating, tremendum et fascinosum. It attracts and it repels. We are attracted by our drive to know the truth, yet we are afraid of the truth. When on a dark night one sees a strange light on a hill, one feels drawn to investigate, yet is afraid of the unknown. Prophets are a strange breed. They arouse our interest but we are not sure whether we would like to hear what they have to say. Well-known prophets of our time were Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II. There are others less known, but just the same they are bearers of God’s truth. They speak such truths as: every life is sacred, everyone is equally God’s child, life is not measured by possessions or position, we are merely stewards of earth’s bounty, people are to be respected and loved, avoid violence.

Curiosity seekers, genuine truth seekers, friends, and enemies came to listen to John. Perhaps they were drawn to his direct style of speaking, “You brood of vipers bear fruit that befit repentance (Lk. 3:8).” He was not just an idealist preaching a utopia . He gave practical suggestions about what this messianic times was all about, “He who has two coats, let him share with those who have none, and he who has food let him do likewise Collect no more than is appointed to you rob no one (Lk. 3:10-14).” John was preaching about the “new way”, the “new people”, the “new life”. He was indeed preparing the way for Jesus the Messiah.

There are practical consequences to the coming of Jesus in our midst. Once we accept Jesus as the Emmanuel, God-with-us, then things start to change. The first change is in ourselves. We refer to this change as repentance or conversion (metanoia ). Changes happen in our relationships, our preoccupations, our priorities. Such changes are bound to flow into the bigger environment. Such was the story of a housewife who transferred into a poor neighborhood. Houses and yards looked miserable. Then she planted a garden of flowers. The neighbors came to look and to ask for cuttings and bulbs. The next summer that neighborhood was bursting with colors and no longer looked so neglected.

Advent is like planting flowers today and waiting in hope for them to grow and bloom. Advent is not just about waiting for a future final coming of Jesus (the parousia). Advent is not just a remembrance and a preparation for a Birthday Party on Christmas Day. Advent is about accepting Jesus in our midst now. And that means allowing for change to happen. When we say that we accept Jesus into our life and no change is happening, then perhaps we have not really allowed Him to come in yet. Perhaps He is just at the door. Or perhaps we have allowed Him into the sala and the public room, but we do not allow Him to go into our private rooms yet. We do not allow Him free reign into our house. We put limits to where God can enter into our lives. We are afraid to change.

It is time to let God in. “Make a highway for our God the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain (Is. 40:3-4).”