This Sunday we will light two candles on the Advent Wreath and hear a voice crying in the wilderness. That voice is the voice of John the Baptist, the patron saint of St. John’s parish.
While we don’t hear John’s exact words in Luke, whatever he said and did clearly remind the gospel-writer of Isaiah’s prophecy centuries earlier: of one who would cry out in the wilderness, calling us to recognize our need for a Savior who would make crooked things straight and rough places plain.
John’s words may have fallen on a lot of deaf ears in those days, just as they do today. There are many in our world who seem to believe that the world “as it is” is as good as it gets: that life will always be “brutish, nasty, and short;” that peace is a pipedream; and that equity, justice, and love will never truly be our governing principles.
Nevertheless, John believed. He may have been a lone voice in the wilderness, yet he persisted, calling others to hope and to act upon that hope. “Repent!” he cried; meaning, do not let apathy or cynicism or despair be your God, but turn again to the One who loves you with an everlasting Love and will not forsake this world to its worst devices. He is on His way, even now.
John was not particularly well-dressed or refined in his ways. He was not what anyone would have anticipated in a leader. Yet he was genuine, passionate, and truthful; and he spoke hope to a world in need of hope.
If you despair of the world these days – and certainly, it is not hard to be tempted in that direction at times – remember John the Baptist who persisted in hope despite all evidence to the contrary.
If you want to know what difference you can make in this cynical world, remember John the Baptist who was not himself the Savior, but who walked among those who felt forsaken, proclaiming hope.
Blessings to you and yours this Advent season. This comes with Love,