Bread In The Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

St. Lucy/ St. Luke Churches

Houma-Thibodaux, LA

 

Second Sunday of Advent

 

The readings given us for this Sunday are: Baruch 5: 1-9; Philippians 1: 4-6, 8-11; Luke 3: 1-6.

 

In spite of the evidence, followers of Jesus remain full of optimism and wild hope as we see everything through the lens of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. But that does not mean that we ignore reality and the great suffering and anguish our brothers and sisters go through everyday of their lives. We are blessed with “wild hope” as we read the signs of the times and embrace the suffering and pain of so many today.

 

Baruch wrote his letter from Babylonia where he was in exile with Jeremiah. Scholars think around the year 150 B.C. Baruch, full of optimism, speaks to the people in Jerusalem: They are to be wrapped in the cloak of “justice.” “For God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” So, out of exile and defeat, the people are given a new day to worship God in “the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.” And they are doing this in the City of Peace, Jerusalem.

 

Luke picks up the optimism of Baruch. Hundreds of years after Baruch, John the Baptist, predicting a new day addresses his hearers with these hope-filled words from Isaiah: “A voice of one crying 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 made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” John preached “wild hope.”

 

Jesus is the object of John’s “wild hope.” Paul, in the passage from the Philippians for today says: “I am confident (wild hope) of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” For us, each day is the “day of Christ Jesus.”

 

And each day ought to bring us closer to the “salvation of God.” And this is not up there somewhere or over there or next year or maybe never. No, the salvation of God is now. As baptized members of Christ, we have the honorable mission of making God’s Kingdom, God’s Culture, come to earth as it is in heaven.

 

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let’s make real the prayer of Pope Francis: “Let the church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers (all of us) would be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error; let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.” Wild Hope! Wild Mercy!