BY WAY OF THE SIMPLE AND THE HUMBLE
[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD]
Second Sunday of Advent – C
December 6, 2015
BY WAY OF THE SIMPLE AND THE HUMBLE
Baruch is certainly one prophet we need in our times. We are robed in mourning and misery in our own ways, too. But that is not the part we need to highlight from him. What we need is the assurance the Lord tells us through him: “For God will show your splendor to all under the heavens.”
But there is more reassurance coming from a younger prophet, named Paul: “the one who began a good work in [us] will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
But I reserve the best for last – from the Gospel of Luke. You see, Luke had an eye for details because he was a scientist – a doctor. And what details he tells us today! It was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. And Pilate was governor and Philip was tetrarch of this and Lysanias was ruler of that … And you thought that it was all about royalty, huh? His story began with bigwigs and ended with a social midget!
Yes, after talking about everybody who was somebody at that time, Luke sets our sights on John, the son of Zechariah (Zechariah who?) out in the desert (where at?) Oh, what a bummer! With powerful people like that, you would probably at least expect a stay at the Hilton!
But no, the good news was entrusted not to bigwigs, not to powerful and wealthy men, but to an unknown person by the name of John who was the son of an unknown someone called Zechariah.
You see, in the raging battle going on courtesy of terrorists all over the world, the real losers are not those who stay in Hilton hotels and palaces. In the real world that is here and now, the real policy makers, the real kingmakers are not those who dwell in places like deserts but in real houses with parking spaces for more than two cars.
But this is the good news … The Lord chose the humble and the lowly, the unknown and the powerless, the wealthless and the seemingly worthless.
But that is not the end of the story. The further good news is that the powerless and the simple and the humble was the one who delivered the goods. “He went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Not too many of the congregations I go to for Masses belong to the former type. Most of those I rub shoulders with are ordinary, normal people (read: those who generally are not on a first-name basis with mayors, governors, senators and congressmen). Most of those I say Mass for and with are simple folks, and simplicity in this country simply means you can be victimized any time by extortionists in the airport out to drop or plant a bullet in your luggage to extort money from you. On top of that, you know no lawyer. You know no connections and so you are the perfect set-up for a crime that goes unnoticed, but which benefits quite a number of people upline and downline, all serving at the pleasure of the appointive public officials.
Today, the lesson is very clear. As we prepare for the coming of the Lord this Second Sunday of Advent, we are made to realize that the Lord relies more on the poor, the simple, the humble and the lowly.
So, friends, let us not pity ourselves. We have power beyond measure. We have a responsibility beyond our imagination. We can do it. If John was able to pull it off, we, too, can empowered by God.
Let us do a John this time. Let us follow him in the path of simplicity of humility. And like him, let us allow space for the power of God to do wonders and to bring to completion what He Himself has started in us.