Gospel of Luke 3:1-6
The call of John the Baptist
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
And all human-beings shall see the salvation of God.
Through John the Baptist I hear an invitation into a new realm of life. A hope filled and peaceful life, where obstacles like mountains, winding paths and rough patches are gone. There is still the promise of a journey, but it is hope filled because it is the deep truth.
I think John’s is the same invitation Pope Francis makes today. Inviting us all into an integral ecology. To live at depth, in rhythm with creation and at one with each other in social friendship. The road ahead is still present but the obstacles will have gone because we have prepared room in our hearts for a deeper experience of divine love that expresses itself in loving care. The voice that cries in the wilderness today is a loud cry of the earth and poor, leading the only way that promises a future that is hope filled and new.
Many leaders have pointed humanity in the way of loving the poor, including Mary Ward who walked across the Alps at least three times hoping leaders would hear her cry for justice.
In my prayer, I pray that I prepare my heart to live at depth and hear heartfelt cries before me. I desire to respond with courage and make a difference to our beautiful but troubled world.