Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter: Year 1
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” (Luke 3: 1 and 2)
This opening into chapter 3 of Luke is a lesson onto itself. It opens with humans in high human positions. We have the Emperor of Rome; we have the Roman governor of Judea; we have the ruler of Galilee and neighboring areas. We also have the clergy in charge of their respective religious duties. These self-filled men are so full of their importance that there is no room for God.
So, the word of God finds space to dwell in one who has emptied himself. “The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” John lived out on the fringes, living off the land. He had no ego issues about who he was. He had room for the word of God to dwell.
This is a valuable lesson for me. I must remember that it is possible for me to fill my cup so full that God has to pass by me because there is no room in my inn. Yes, this lesson is important for all who want to have the peace of God in their hearts. It may require us to evaluate the junk that fills our space. We might have to do some house-cleaning. If we don’t, we risk being like Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Annas and Caiaphas. They were so full of themselves that the word of God had to “Passover” them. But where John was able to sit quietly and ponder in nature, the word of God settled, was planted, and bloomed.
The beginning of cleaning house is the quiet time we give ourselves. I again share the quote from Blaise Pascal, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” John the Baptist made plenty of time to welcome the Presence of God. This quiet time is not something we get in Church. A little of it may be acquired by small group silent retreats. But by far the best way to be open to the Word of God is silent prayer, spiritual reading and just pondering the presence of the Holy. God will visit you. Just empty yourself and be open to receive.
Let us live to love, more than we just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John