Reading Reflections: Second Sunday of Advent Gospel C

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In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.

Luke sets the ministry of John the Baptist (and of Jesus) in its historical context, in particular, during the Roman Empire.
This would be around 28-29AD.
Following the death of Herod the Great, his kingdom was divided into four parts. Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great, ruled Galilee. We know little about Philip (except that Herodias, whom Herod married, was first married to Philip) and Lysanias. Along with the connection to Tiberius and Pilate, Luke further situates John’s ministry in the political context of his day.
According to Jewish tradition there could be one high priest at a time and he remained for life. The Romans insisted that there would be some tenure. So even though in fact Caiaphas was the high priest, Annas was still recognized as such by the people. This is the religious context.
God has chosen John to be the forerunner of the Christ.
That the word of God came to John in the wilderness reminds the people of the covenant which was ratified in the desert or wilderness.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out 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."
The purpose of the repentance and the baptism as a sign of their desire for forgiveness was to prepare their hearts to receive the word of the Messiah.
Luke situates John’s ministry in the prophetic context. He quotes Isaiah 40:3-5.
It was the custom of the day for the king to send messengers ahead of him to prepare the people for his pending visit. God sends John to be his spokesperson.
During this Advent season what are we doing to prepare our hearts for a deeper coming of Jesus, so that we too can see his salvation?
Will that preparation include the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Will it include the forgiveness of others as well as asking their forgiveness?
Pray: Come, Lord, Jesus, Come. Come into my heart in a fuller way. Draw me into your presence.

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