Homily for the second Sunday of Advent - Year C - Lk. 3:1-6
Father Daniel Meynen
" In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, « The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. » "
" The word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. "
On this second Sunday of Advent, the Church proposes to us that we contemplate the admirable face: the one of John-Baptist. Truly, it is admirable, this figure of the Precursor of the Lord, the one that the Spirit of God himself chose to prepare the coming of the Savior in this world! The Lord sanctified John-Baptist before being born: when Mary visited her cousin Elisabeth, just after becoming the Mother of God, she brought to John-Baptist the Saint of the Saints whom she carried in her. The words of grace that Mary addressed to Elisabeth permitted to the Spirit of God to sanctify not only Elisabeth, but also John, who was in the body of his mother: "When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Lk. 1:41)
John-Baptist is a prophet: the greatest of all the prophets of the Old Covenant! The one who is a prophet receives the word of God and he transmits it to men. The prophet serves as a mediator between God and men: he is a mediator of the word of God. It is the original sense of the term 'prophet': to speak for another one. This word of God which John-Baptist has the charge to transmit to men, he received it in the desert, "in the solitude." Because the word of God is almost imperceptible, it is a light murmur; one does not hear it in the tumult of the crowd; to hear it, it is necessary that God situates us in a deserted place, in solitude. But when John heard this word of God, he left the desert to go here and there spread the good Word, to evangelize the people toward whom God sent him.
" He went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. "
John-Baptist preaches a baptism for the remission of the sins. It is not speaking here about the sacrament of baptism: it is Jesus himself, God and Man all whole, who instituted this sacrament. John-Baptist instituted a ritual baptism that was not a sacrament. The baptism of John was destined to prepare us to receive the baptism instituted by Jesus: how could Jesus perfectly accomplish the old law if this one did not know a ritual baptism already established and exercised by the People of God? Jesus came indeed in order to accomplish the law and to give it its perfection; it was therefore advisable that the sacrament of the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ was represented and ritually accomplished in the time of the Old Covenant by the baptism of John.
The New and Eternal Covenant! Behold what we are going to celebrate in the course of this Eucharist! We are hearing these words of Lord: "This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant..." Jesus came on earth to make a "covenant" with humankind. Jesus did not come on earth to become the one of us. No. He came on earth so that we became sons of God, participant in the divine life of the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus came on earth so that we could receive this divine life which is his own life. Because an obstacle remained: sin. Also, Jesus, the Son of God become a man, offered himself voluntarily on the altar of the Cross: he died for our sins, to open to us the door of the Heaven and of the eternal life.
Let us ask Mary and Saint John-Baptist for the grace of understanding what is the greatness of our destiny. God calls us to become children of God in Christ Jesus! God calls us to participate in this eternal Covenant that is Jesus himself. May our communion of today be the one of our definitive "covenant" with our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us ask Mary for this grace!