2nd Sunday of Advent - Prophetic Voices

Advent is a season of expectation and of hope. It is a time for us to listen again to God's promise of deliverance and reconciliation. It is a time for us to be reassured of His relentless love for each and all of us, and for our planet.

It is a time for us to be filled with new hope, new courage. It is a time for us to be reassured that the darkness that overshadows the present moment, whether from sin, sickness, poverty, sorrow, weakness or failure, will be dissipated and driven away by the Sun of Justice, the Word-Made-Flesh.

This Hope is proclaimed by The Baptist who reminds us that “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low.  The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

In our day and age, we are surrounded by a host of would-be prophets, who raise their voices in the newspapers, in the press, and in current literature - all of them proclaiming to have some special gift for discerning the truth and some exclusive right to proclaim it. They know exactly what is wrong with this country or with the world or with the Church, and how precisely to cure any and all of its ills. Many of them are pretentious, egotistical, and intolerant, especially of those who disagree with them. So we can be sure that they are not authentic prophets.

But, in this babble of voices, the prophetic message of the Gospel will not be drowned out. It is proclaimed quietly but strongly by the faith-filled men and women whose values stand in direct contrast to those of the world. We live out our baptismal commitment at home, at work, at play. Our example of faithfulness to God, our self-sacrificing and unconditional love for others, our patience in adversity, our spirit of concern and compassion for the poor and the powerless - these are the attitudes of mind and heart that make us modern-day prophets.

Perhaps we still walk along crooked paths. We might find it much easier to take detours around the Gospel challenges of Christian justice. There are still hills of conflict and valleys of depression on the road we walk.

But we use these Advent days to stir up this promise hope, to bring the seed of Eternal Life to full bloom. We know that the Lord has come... we are certain that the Lord will come. We believe in all that Jesus has already accomplished in us, and we see in that a promise, a reason to hope for so much more.... for a deepening of our own faith and love...for power to overcome evil in ourselves and in our world... for the healing of hatred and the banishment of fear... for peace and justice.

Especially as we end this year of so much suffering and tragedy, we gather as people of faith in a holy season of hope, preparing for a new year of liberation. The voice of fear is drowned out by the voice John the Baptist: "Prepare His way – make straight His paths."   Like him, we cannot be silent. We cannot be afraid of contradiction and ridicule. We cannot be afraid to pay the price for carrying on the prophetic mission of Jesus Christ.

The challenging, prophetic voice of John the Baptist echoes across the centuries to be proclaimed as our own.  And with the Psalmist we proclaim: The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy