Today’s Gospel reading, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, is from Matthew’s Gospel. It tells us of the revolutionary John the Baptist. He was amazing and kind of scary. So filled with the Holy Spirit that it shot out of his heart and into his voice, and his message motivated people! Some people were motivated by confusion and fear. Some were motivated by love and a keen interest in the things of Heaven that could be found here on earth if they’d just surrender and turn to God. That was John’s message. And he shouted it! He yelled it out because he didn’t have a megaphone or a microphone. He just let his voice fly and land in the ears of all coming out to see him. And they came in droves. Just go read Matthew’s Gospel, if you don’t believe me.
So, below is a link to the song that opens the musical, Godspell. It’s John the Baptist and he is singing with all his heart and soul. This is the one who leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary, in the early days of her pregnancy with Jesus in her own womb, went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was further along in her pregnancy with baby John. She tells Mary that the baby “leapt in her womb” when Jesus, tiny fetal Jesus, approached inside his mama’s belly. It’s another scene I love to contemplate. But here, today, the two now grown men will meet again shortly. It will change everything. It is a beautiful moment when Jesus shows up to be baptized by John. The elder cousin cannot fathom why his Lord should come to him to receive a baptism of repentance when John knows that Jesus is the Messiah and that He has no need of repentance. The humility on Jesus’ part is striking, to say the least. But Jesus says, (I’m reading between the lines here), “It’s OK, John. Let’s do it so we can be the role model for others to follow. I submit to this human activity because I am human, though I am in no need of it because I am also divine.”
Jesus, always showing us how to walk along the Way, always telling the Truth, always yearning to give us Life. Jesus loves John and it must have been quite humbling to go to this man when they both know who each is in the scheme of salvation. John cannot know his own future at this point, though he does know that if he continues to criticize Herod for marrying his brother’s wife, it probably will not end well for him. Imprisonment, surely. But death? He cannot know. We don’t know what Jesus knows now. Does He already have the omniscient power of God? Does Jesus know how John’s life will end? It can be validly argued that He does, but Jesus will still grieve when His cousin is executed for a dance. I would say it is a blessing and a bit of a curse for anyone to know the future.
I invite you to listen to John the Baptist now as he sings to the audience; many who become his followers for a time, until he sends them to Jesus. And then John is the one who is humble enough to say, “He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease.” It’s another lesson for us to learn. Your life is not about you. It’s about glorifying God; it’s about communion with Him and loving God and all He has created.
So, Happy Second Sunday of Advent! Prepare Ye the Way!!!