Fr. Richard Rohr: “It is not who you are. It is ‘Whose’ you are that gives you a clue to your true identity.”
St. Augustine:”The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.”
St. John of the Cross: “The soul of one who serves God always swims in joy, always keeping holiday, and is always in the mood for singing.”
St. Paul: “Rejoice always; again I say rejoice; the Lord is near.”
In the Hebrew canon, the Book of Malachi is the last book. It says that God will send “Elijah, the prophet, before the Day of the Lord…” John fulfills that prophecy. Yet, John was beheaded. Jesus says He will suffer also. If John and Jesus suffered, we, too, can expect to suffer.
Through the centuries many great men have been named, John. Today, John the Baptist is prominent in the gospel reading and John of the Cross has his required memorial. Those who have the name of John have many role models to select from. My favorite is John XXIII.
In this Season of pre-Christmas preparation when we can get caught up in anticipation of celebrating Dec. 25, today’s gospel challenges us to acknowledge whatever within us is opposing His coming. The gospel challenges us to “repent,” to return our minds and hearts to God because “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Each of us must make a decision to turn away from the Kingdom of Evil and toward God, His Kingdom. For our hopes and fears meet in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah. We must decide which Kingdom we will serve. If we choose God’s Kingdom, then the way into this Kingdom is heralded by John the Baptist: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”
Isaiah poetry tries to capture the idea that God is trustworthy as a rock. We can count on God’s sureness no matter what may come our way. We can count on God in family crises, bad days, etc. During Advent we have the opportunity to strengthen our trust in God and raise our awareness of all the reasons why we can hope in God.
Isaiah used the shoot sprouting from the stump of Jesse (David’s father) to describe David’s lineage. Isaiah hoped that from David’s family tree there would be a leader filled with God’s spirit of justice and faithfulness. In such a world, animals who were natural enemies would co-exist in peace. During Advent let’s make peace in our families where strife exists.
Called “Damascene” because he was born in Damascus, a Muslim city. He was the grand vizier to the caliph;became a monk and then a priest. Wrote a systematic synthesis of Christian doctrine called “The Fount of Knowledge.” Preached many times on Mary and her Assumption. Last of the “Greek Fathers” of the Church.