Advent Pt. 3 – A Moment with the Bishop – December 5, 2019


When I think of Advent, I think of two
fundamental figures in the scriptures that really are emblems of this season,
one is John the Baptist the other is the Blessed Virgin Mary. And they both
appeared prominently in the liturgical readings of this season. I can’t think of
two people more opposite. I think of John the Baptist does this wild-haired
prophet out in the desert, loudly proclaiming this radical message of
conversion. And it’s not a palatable message it’s not a consoling message
he’s really calling people out to reject their sins, their selfishness, and to
start anew in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. He is so persuasive and
so effective that many people think he is the Messiah. Contrast him with the
Blessed Virgin Mary, who at this point no one even really knows and yet she is
already bearing within her the Word of God, made flesh, in anticipation of
Jesus’ birth, and we see there that this hiddenness, this stillness, this quiet
life totally given to God and the Word is slowly silently growing within her. So,
John is public. Mary is very private. John is out there proclaiming this
message, Mary is receiving the word in the silence of her hear. I think we need
both to have a balanced spirituality. If our faith is just all doing all public
all external we rapidly lose our spiritual base in our interior life. If
our faith is only interior then we’re not giving witness in the way that the
Lord is asking us. So, I think Advent invites us to embrace John the Baptist
and the Blessed Virgin and to allow both of them to speak powerfully through our
hearts, that we are called to prepare the way for Christ that we are called to
give birth to Christ, as St. Augustine tolled through lives of prayer and
holiness but both of them in their own unique p,owerful way prepared
way of the Lord and what unites them is this remarkable humility Mary say I am
the handmaid of the Lord let it be done to me according to thy word John the
Baptist always pointing away from himself and pointing towards Jesus
saying follow him he is the Christ I am simply on the messenger. Allow both
John the Baptist and Mary to speak to you take them into your heart and into
your prayer in these days of Advent.

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