Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Gaudete Sunday

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God. -

Isaiah 61:1-2a

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
John answered them,“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” -

John 1:6-8, 26-27

Isaiah's prophecies play a prominent role in the Advent liturgies of the Church. In this particular passage we find Isaiah is anointed to proclaim a year of favor and a day of vindication by God. This is in response to the Jews being released from their captivity in Babylon. They are told to "make straight a path in the wasteland for our God" as the Jews return to Jerusalem and to the temple. Their long night has ended, and light has shined forth on the people who walked in darkness. This enlightenment will bring about the prophecies that Isaiah foretells: glad tidings, healing, liberty, and release.

In the bigger picture of the story of salvation, John the Baptist heralds the coming of Christ through just such proclamations. All that he is testifies or points to Jesus as the long awaited Messiah who is the light and will usher in glad tidings, healing, liberty, and release. However, notice John is quick to point out to the Pharisees and Levites that they do not recognize the man whom he very much recognizes as is evidenced by the statement that he is not worthy to untie the sandal strap of him who is to come. John the Baptist knows his place in the story of salvation.

The question then becomes, do we recognize our place in the story of salvation? How do we live our lives? Both Isaiah and St. John the Baptist give us the answer. When we are focused on Jesus, the Lord, our lives bring, proclaim, and announce the hope that is Christ, for Christ is the glad tidings, the healing, the liberty, the release, the year of favor, and the day of vindication. For those of us who are fortunate to cooperate with God's grace and recognize Jesus, those of us who are aware that we are not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal, we become modern day John the Baptists heralding the Lord. We become the voice in the desert crying "Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!" We know our place in the story of salvation.


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