The Lord’s Path Is The Exit Of Bondage To Sin!

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 05 December 2021
Second Sunday of Advent

Bar. 5:1-9; Ps. 126:1-2ab,2cd-3,4-5.6; Phil. 1:4-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6

The evangelist Luke is a historian as well. He placed the appearance of John the Baptist in the global and local frame, in the context of profane and religious history. He even posted 7 (a perfect number) leaders: from Rome, the center of the world (Tiberius, the Emperor), to the land of Palestine, which is then broken down in political (Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias) and religious group (Hanas and Caiaphas). This setting conveys some messages. First, the call for repentance is sent to all people, without exception, from the central government to the most remote area. Repentance is not only about individual obligation, but also structural, not only about religion but also politics. Humans must leave behind all kinds of sins and mistakes, made individually or collectively. To welcome the coming of the Lord, everybody must repent, in any groups or positions, as “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (v.6). Jesus is the Saviour of all humankind.

Second, the message of repentance does not come from Jerusalem and Rome but from the wilderness. A true transformation is not the result of the successful projects of the rulers nor the result of the lobbying of the political and religious officials, instead, it comes from the call in the arid area. Wilderness is a no-man land, the symbol of emptiness. Advent emphasizes the spirituality of wilderness: the determination and spirit to empty ourselves from any kind of sin and interests, from any ambitions and calculations. This transformation won’t happen if human beings are busy seizing and hoarding power and position. Wilderness also reminds us of the Exodus: the journey of God’s people from slavery to freedom. Hence, Advent also emphasizes the Exodus spirituality: You and I are invited to get out of any forms of slavery, out of self-interest, in order to walk together to welcome the coming of the Lord.

Third, the main actor of our transformation is God’s Word itself. It is said in verse 2: “during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness”. If wilderness is the scene and spirituality of repentance, then God’s word is the actor of the transformation! Like the prophets in OT, John was ‘caught’ by the word of God. God’s word is like a flame burning inside him. John could not reject and do the other way around: he instantly preached the baptism of repentance throughout the Jordan. The content of John’s preaching did not come from his own idea or his made-up story. He passed on  God’s word which Isaiah spoke: everybody must prepare the way of the Lord and make His path straight. ‘Path’ is the symbol of behavior. Therefore, ‘prepare and make the path straight!’ becomes two imperatives and the keyword to being worthy to receive Him. Through John, God’s word invites you and me to make our path of life straight, instead of taking the wrong path. God’s word invites us to live free from depression and pessimism, to eliminate all kinds of injustice, inequality, and to level the pile and hill of arrogance. During Advent, God wants us to follow His program, to obey His path: to live in a straight and equal path of life.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
For the catechist: Let us pray for the catechists who are called to proclaim the word of God: may they become His bold and creative witnesses, and be always filled with Holy Spirit. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
For the farmers: May all the authorities help the farmers to improve their effort to have good standard of living and to meet the needs of the society. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
May You be pleased to gather us with the Holy Family, to follow the ministry of Saint Joseph, to present the devotion to Mother Mary and to have faith in The Son. We pray…

Amen

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