Homily December 7, 2014 2nd Sunday of Advent
Isaiah today is crying out to a people in despair. They have been dragged from their homes and held captive and feel totally cut off and abandoned by God. And, as things never change in some things, they are trapped in Iraq, what then was called BABYLON. The unrest and volatile nature of the mideast was as intense then as now. Yet Isaiah is telling the people that God has not forgotten them to be prepared for he is sending a savior. In Christ’s time, John the Baptist arose stirring up the people to get ready for the one who was coming. His call was for people to repent, to cleanse themselves and wait for the one who not even he was worthy to tie his sandal strap. His baptism was a sign of change, of renewal, of a new life to give up the old ways. It was different from the Baptism to come. His baptism was self activism pushing ones own will to change and do better. The only problem is that in relying only on ourselves to change is so very hard, as I am sure most of us realize in our experience with the way people are in our world today. Those who rely simply on their own will to change have a long difficult journey to succeed.
However we are Followers of Christ, a baptismal people, a baptism different from John’s. It is a baptism in the holy Spirit who comes and dwells in us. It is the spirit who invigorates us and makes it possible to be faithful followers and to change and make our lives ready and holy to meet Christ and his Father. Christmas each year is a reminder that Christ came and that we need to renew our baptism and life in the spirit. Each and every day the spirit calls us to new life and draws us to himself. Whether it is where we envision ourself going or not the spirit prompts and leads us and looks over us. Looking back over life, I must say that even with many twists and turns and odd places to be, the spirit eventually somehow seems to lead to a good and peaceful outcome. Sure there will always be challenges and bumps along the way, but our response to the daily ins and outs of life is what exactly defines who and what we are. It certainly tells us if we are a spiritual loner who tries to do it alone or a person of the spirit who turns ourself over to the spirit to lead us on that remarkable journey to meet christ when he comes again.