Second Sunday of Advent - 9th December, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

Baruch 5: 1-9, Philippians 1: 3-6, 8-11, Luke 3: 1-6

In our first reading today Baruch offers us a beautiful, homely image of God’s care of his people, an image redolent of warmth, protection comfort and safety.  He exhorts Israel’s exiles to ‘wrap the cloak of God’s saving justice around them’ and to rejoice because God had remembered them.  Today people exiled from home and country are largely forgotten in a world indifferent to their plight, deaf to their cries for safe refuge.  May they also come to know that God remembers them.

In today’s Gospel passage Luke wants us to have no doubts about God’s remembering his people.  He creates a context for the arrival of Jesus, by naming Roman and Jewish authority figures who held office at the time of Jesus’ birth. Some of their names are familiar, as they played active roles in the events of his passion and death.  Today, however, it is John the Baptist who takes centre stage.

Emerging from his solitude in the desert he becomes the last of Israel’s prophets, calling the people to repentance and transformation of their lives in order to be ready to welcome the good news of God’s saving justice which Jesus will bring.  John recalls from Second Isaiah the image of a new highway, level and smooth, fit for the approach of a king.  But the kingdom of Jesus is not built like a Roman road.  It must first be established in the minds and hearts of God’s people if it is to transform the world.  John’s preaching calls us to spend Advent attending to the quality of our lives as disciples, preparing to ‘wrap the cloak of God’s saving justice around us’ when we celebrate once again the coming of the Word made flesh to dwell with us and within us.  Relying on God’s grace, we pray: ‘Lord, lead us in your justice.  Make clear your way before us.  Lead us, Lord, lead us!’

Mary Britt OP