2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – B
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah was sent to the Israelites who were exiled in Babylon (587-530 BC); they had broken the covenant and God seemed to be absent. Jerusalem was far away and the people could not bear the terrible trauma of being in captivity in a foreign land. In this desperate situation, Isaiah became God’s voice of hope for the people.
In the second reading, the promised Second Coming of Jesus (Parousia) was long delayed. The people were again in despair, thinking that Jesus might not be the Messiah, after all He has not come quickly as some had expected. The Second Letter of Peter was written to give them hope: God does not conform to human expectations and what they were awaiting was a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
For more than four hundred years, the Israelites had never heard nor seen a prophet. Then suddenly came John the Baptist! Again as God’s voice of hope to a people who lived in the shadow of death, to a land as barren as the desert! His message was that of the prophet Isaiah’s: “Prepare, the Lord is coming!” The long exile of sin had ended, a new spring time had come! It was a refreshing message like rain drenching the parched land; like ice-cold water to a weary and lost pilgrim in the middle of a desert. So people flocked to him like a superstar! But what did they see? A very simple man dressed in camel’s hair. But his message was tremendous and disturbing as well. He could have glorified himself from such popularity and adulation but he knew he was a mere messenger, only a voice of Someone greater than anyone else. He even declared that he was not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of His sandals.
The world of today has not changed so much in terms of the need of such prophets of hope! We may have conquered the moon, explored the universe, made the world a small global village, advanced in technology and science, but in this cyber age of wonders and innovations, people are in despair as it was in the time of the Israelite exile and as in the time of Jesus.
Not too many of us know that when we baptized, we participated in the three offices of Jesus: priest, prophet and king. Yes, we are all prophets! And what is to be a prophet in this present time? It is to be the voice of Jesus in a world that is desperately in need of salvation, of comfort and of hope!
Like John the Baptist and Isaiah, we may also experience our own personal exiles and sinfulness nevertheless God sends us to be His prophets in spite of our unworthiness. But we need to hear first the message from the Master and own it onto ourselves before we can speak to others. Then we look around and see and deliver the same message we received: to our families, our children, our spouses, our friends, our officemates, maybe even to strangers. Speak the truth even if it hurts; disturb the peace of the status quo if there need be, but most especially to be God’s voice of hope.
Speak up, prophets! If not us, then who will? If not today, then when? Let us make a difference to someone’s life today!
Please read the supplement poetograph in my other blog: