December 9, 2012: Second Sunday of Advent
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:1-6)
John was the cousin of Jesus, born about the same time as Jesus to his mother’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. When he grew up, he knew that God’s desire for him was to teach people about what God wanted them to do and to become. And so he set out to walk throughout all of Israel telling people about the beautiful things God had in store for them, and how they could prepare the way of the Lord for everyone. John and Jesus did not meet often, but when they did they shared a deep and beautiful love of God–and an understanding of the difficult things ahead of them in their lives as they tried to bring God’s message to the people.
Try to imagine being called to go around to everyone you met and tell them that God loved them. Do you think they would believe you? Accept you? Or turn away from you?
This was a difficult assignment for both John and Jesus, yet both of them knew they were chosen to do just that. And, though they did it with nothing but love in their hearts, they both ended up dying as they preached that message.
Take some time tonight to thank John and Jesus for what they did for all of us.