Nobody with nothing out of nowhere – Second Sunday in Advent – Luke 3:1-6

Nobody with nothing out of nowhere – Second Sunday in Advent – Luke 3:1-6

The opening verses of today’s Gospel gives us the ‘A-listers’ of the first century world. You have an emperor, a governor, three tetrarchs and two high priests, all of whom are mentioned by name. At the end of this list, St Luke gives us another name, John, son of Zechariah. St Luke was not just providing a historical basis to his ‘detailed account’ but showing us the plan of salvation of God for us.

Reading these illustrious names and then letting your eyes settle on John, son of Zechariah is like saying in the year 2021, when Joe Biden was the president of the United States of America and Francis was Roman Pontiff and Modi was prime minister of India and Cardinal Oswald was Archbishop of Bombay, the word of the Lord came to Peter from Tardeo! I guess the first reaction of every one would be who is Peter from Tardeo? Sounds like a nobody with nothing out of nowhere. Yet that is how salvation history unfolds.

John was already made a prophet before his birth and now once again that mission is reiterated; ‘the word of the Lord came to John.’ God chooses him, a nobody from nowhere and not the A-listers of his time. God chooses us too, yet we resist our own calling to serve him.

John’s credentials are given to us as that of the son of Zechariah and he is called to set up his office in the wilderness and not in the palace. His mission was in the real world not in an ivory tower. He was to ‘proclaim a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.’ There was no beating around with this mission. God was clear.

How odd, it may seem to many of us, that such a huge task was given to John with neither a title nor a typewriter. In face the very place that God chooses for him to operate sounds like it is doomed to failure; he is to begin in the wilderness. Yet we know that from Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Jesus, the mission of God has begun in the wilderness. The wilderness may not provide you with a sense of security, on the contrary, it makes you feel vulnerable but it is in vulnerability that God appears; it is in vulnerability that we learn to depend on God. With the preaching of John, the wilderness is not a place of desolation but of Hope.

Finally, what is it that John is called to? St Luke quotes Isaiah 40;3-5 as the mission of John. He is to prepare a way. Yet, John is not just sent to prepare a way for God but to prepare people to receive God. That preparation is through a personal metanoia or a change of heart and mind and not merely some ritual performed mindlessly. “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill made low’ represents a radical transformation that must take place in our lives. It is then that ‘all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.’

John began his mission in the wilderness, as Jesus was to do. We each have a wilderness inside us, a place of testing, where the power of false gods is broken. It is a place of encounter with ourselves, with our inner demons and with God. We should not be afraid of going into this wilderness, since it is there that the word of God will come to us.

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2 thoughts on “Nobody with nothing out of nowhere – Second Sunday in Advent – Luke 3:1-6”

  • So very true Fr. Warner all of us need to bring this radical transformation within us and remember that John came not only to prepare a way for Our Lord, but also to prepare us to receive HIM for all flesh shall see the Salvation of Our God when we truly prepare ourselves to receive HIM..

    Thankyou & God Bless you Fr. Warner 🙏🙏

  • Peter from Tardeo made me laugh..but God uses such for his kingdom. Well spoken, Fr.Warner.


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