Pondering for Sunday, December 5, 2021

Eucharistic Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent: Year C

Baruch 5:1 to 9 or Malachi 3:1to 4;  Canticle 4 or 16; Philippians 1:3 to 11; Luke 3:1 to 6

“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)

While all of the human, self-proclaimed, official authorities ruled over their positions with arrogance and intimidation, having their cups full, full of themselves, they could not be of use for the Lord, who needed someone who emptied themselves, like John living in the wilderness. God passed over all of the filled cups, those who held human titles, to come to a wilderness preacher who was more concerned about the spiritual welfare of his community than what they thought of him.

Just so, God still needs those of us who empty ourselves of all obstacles to grace.  John emptied himself and then used Isaiah’s words about straight pathways to further show that removing human obstacles is the same as creating space for our Lord Jesus to enter our hearts.

John preached a baptism of repentance. Today, we as a community, follow our Lord Jesus as he handed himself over to John the Baptist to be baptized. He, who had nothing to repent of, set for us the example of Baptism as the only initiation into the Christian family, the submission of our lives for the cleansing of our souls regardless of any thought of innocence or guilt. We must be completely vulnerable before God.

Today we have made this a communal act by bringing our infants into the household of God through baptism. We lift up our infants and young ones, completely as innocent as was the adult Jesus, and yet handed himself over as an example of what is expected of us. This we do in accordance with His teaching. We do this as the community of Christ. It is our prayer then that our baptized ones will complete our communal prayer by coming before our bishops when they reach the age of decision and affirm for themselves their Christian walk through confirmation.  This only happens if they learn to live a life of love and service through our Church teachings. The ultimate lesson is to keep the cups of their souls empty in order to be filled and made use of by God.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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