The Gospel for this Sunday begins somewhat strangely. We hear, “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitus, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.” Saint Luke is going to great lengths to identify the moment in time in which this event took place, and the political situation in Rome, in Judea, in Jerusalem, and in the surrounding regions.
God is breaking into history. Eternity is breaking into time. And nothing will ever be the same.
The two New Testament figures who most symbolize the Advent season are John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Sunday and next (the Second and Third Sundays of Advent) focus on the role of John as precursor of Jesus. This Wednesday (the Immaculate Conception of Mary) and the Fourth Sunday of Advent focus on the role of Mary.
Today we hear John fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, “A voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.’” This message is not only for the people of his time, but for us as well. In this season of preparation, we too prepare the way of the Lord. Keeping our eyes on the true spiritual meaning of Advent, through prayer, reading of Scripture, and especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we seek to clear a path in our lives and in our hearts for the coming of the Lord.
–Fr. Mike Comer