December 8, 2017

Advent Reflection Week Two: "John the Baptist Speaks Across the Centuries to Each Generation"

Jesus Christ

Reflecting on the second week of Advent Pope Benedict XVI observes, "As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's call to conversion sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man." Benedict explains John's call thusly:

"And it is today, in the present, that we decide our future destiny. It is with our concrete everyday behavior in this life that we determine our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity."

His Holiness explains, "Through the Gospel John the Baptist continues to speak down the centuries to each generation. His hard clear words bring health to us, the men and women of this day in which even the experience and perception of Christmas often, unfortunately, reflects materialist attitudes. The 'voice' of the great prophet asks us to prepare the way for the coming Lord in the deserts of today, internal and external deserts, thirsting for the water ...which is Christ."

Our Lord referred to St. John the Baptist as "My messenger" who must prepare the "way". John now wanted his disciples to realize that they, too, must follow Christ in this "way". Only through the same Jesus Christ, the long-expected Savior, will the "blind" of soul "see;" the "lame' of character "walk;" the "lepers" of sin become "cleansed;" the "poor" become rich with a new Gospel of love.

Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom grant us admittance to his company. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. St. John the Baptist, martyr for God, help us prepare the way for Christ to live in our hearts, during this Advent season, and at the end of time when He comes again.

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