Lectio: Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
As we prepare for Sunday Mass, let us look at this Gospel reading for Sunday very carefully. It is filled with many truths to ponder and please follow wherever the Lord leads you, to speak to you. But here, we are going to focus on two truths: timing and mission.
In the first part of this passage, we see "individuals" and they are important enough to mention together with the positions they held at that specific time. There is a "timing" happening here. History at this point in time is now interrupted, so to speak, and punctuated by a "coming," and that coming is the word of God to John in the desert. The "word" (First Cause) is beginning something and that something is John's full mission. His mission is now being fully ignited. And what does John do after encountering the word? He moves into action. He enters into a greater fullness. There is a "fullness" in God's time and we want so much to rush it and make things happen now! This impatience we suffer from in ourselves works against the perfect timing of God's will. John waits and receives according to God's timing, according to God's will. He waits until God gives him "further directions," then He moves when God moves him.
Living in God's will produces peace and joy. We are living in His presence always, moving with Him, rather than trying to have Him move with us. John moved with God, with the Holy Spirit. He had to be a man of deep joy and peace. He may have been intense, radical and a most puzzling man from others standards (possibly). But joy, he had to radiate joy, he was so filled with the Holy Spirit. Joy was his strength, especially when he was in areas where he was treated with skepticism and rejection, a treatment which is familiar to us in this skeptical world in which we live.
One final point to look at prayerfully: the words from the prophet Isaiah..."a voice of one crying out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord." Each of these words is packed with meaning, "a voice of one." Being in the singular, it is a great reminder of how each one must take courage to, "be the one," as Mother Teresa would tell us, to comfort Him, to live in His laws of freedom and to be brave to communicate His truth to others. "To prepare the way of the Lord," there is readiness needed to receive Him into our heart and we have to do the work to make our hearts ready for this great guest of our soul. Before we can give Him to others we must first have Him.
Question: What area in my life am I fearful to allow Him to "come into"? What am I afraid He might ask? Why am I afraid? What makes my heart protected and not open to His Word? Do I go to Him with all that is in my heart?
"Joy is a sign of generosity, when you are full of joy, you move faster, and you want to go about doing good to everyone, joy is a net by which we catch souls." (Mother Teresa)