Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 ++ 2 Peter 3:8-14 ++ Mark 1:1-8
Last Saturday, my 5-year-old grandniece asked me if Jesus was God. After my explanation, she looked at me and said, “Well, why would God do that? Why would God, who can do ANYTHING and is EVERYWHERE, become a baby, who does NOTHING and GOES NOWHERE?! She was perplexed…aren’t we all?
God is powerful in our readings today…
offering abundant comfort and tenderness
calling for significant atonement
acknowledging the steep price paid
proclaiming that God’s coming will fill in the valley,
and lay low the mountain
rendering the rugged and the rough smooth and verdant
coming with power
ruling with a strong arm
protecting like a shepherd
changing our perception of time
causing the heavens to pass away with a roar
dissolving everything by fire
bringing forth a new earth and a new heaven
Power and greatness
Fierce and exacting
For, we know that in this season of waiting and preparing, the invitation is to trust more deeply, to follow without knowing, to open to possibility, to believe in love that risks, to embrace innocence, and to surrender our understanding of power and greatness. God is great and powerful; God chose innocence and vulnerability. Perplexing…
In our Gospel reading, John the Baptist readies us for this perplexing truth. His life of service, renunciation, and dedication…a life devoid of power and greatness…shifts us, helps us to look with different eyes for the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist breaks through the people’s familiarity with and expectation of the idea of power over and greatness at the expense of others. John turns them toward the one who expresses power and greatness through love, companionship, teaching, serving, healing, and inclusion. John readies them...and us…to seek beyond their understanding and expectations…to move from perplexed to trusting God’s ways.
This is our task this Advent Season…
…to know that God is great and powerful, and God chose to be innocent and vulnerable.
…to accept our greatness and power and choose to live innocent and vulnerable to God and all that God asks of us.
…to celebrate the power and greatness of others and to recognize the disempowerment and wounding we create in others through unjust policies and practices in our church and society.
…to embrace once again, the journey of love shown to us by God-with-us in every moment and every person.
…to be in God, with God, and of God
Sr. Didi Madden, OP