A Long, Long TimeSunday ReadingsPodcast of the Sunday Readings Sunday Bible Study QuestionsVideo Reflections Lecturas y Comentarios New American BiblePrayer of the HoursBQ: What is the Old Testament root of the sacrament of Baptism?
Second Sunday in Advent, Dec. 4, 2011 (2AdvB)
By Fr. John Foley, S. J.
Love always wants to share itself.
This is why God, who is love, creates. There are planets and black holes and galaxy clusters, all caused by God to exist every second.
What a privilege, what a gift. If this were all God did, surely it would be enough. But the planets and asteroids receive God passively, not actively. They cannot make a decision to let God come to them and and they cannot willingly love God in return. They have their rough, craggy existence, being exactly what they are created to be.
At a certain point in history, God traced an intricate trail which something called life could trace its way. He chose a diminutive blue planet circulating insignificantly around a small star in what would later (millions of years later) be called the Milky Way, and made a new beginning.
Eons later, life eked out of the sea onto shore. It danced its way into trees, skies, rocky shores and more. It chose the highest mountains, the coldest clouds of the heavens, the hottest flaming deserts, and even the deepest oceans. It began to make them its home.
Dinosaurs, funny looking fish, even apes. Alive! What a delight. God enwrapped them with love, a love in which they basked but of course could be conscious of.
If God had done nothing more, this would have been enough. Miraculous. But still, God’s overflowing love wanted more. He wanted to complete the circle. He wished for creatures who could say, thanks, I love you too.
So the human race—slowly, cumbrously—inched its way into being. Don’t ask me the number of Cro-Magnon species that preceded it, or how hunting turned into farming, how weaving and buildings and fences became daily life. They did. God had created people.
If it had all stopped there, surely it would have been enough. But, shockingly, God took time to deepen out a spiritual hollow within these newly fashioned humans by which they could, even in fear and distraction, actually receive God’s Glory—not passively like a rock does the sun, but actively and knowingly, welcoming unto themselves the great gratuity of God’s life, love and presence.
As you know, today we are those humans with the spiritual openness. God is loving us and creating us every moment. How have we responded? Oh, what a question. Have we let God in? Once in a while. Have we let the divine take root in us? Um, well, I hope I do not have to answer that question. I look around at the world, the Church, the country, the economy, the crime-ridden streets, and I say that none of us have said yes without conditions. What a shame
God has reacted in various ways: anger, hurt, slothing, pleading, directing, attempting in so many various ways to ask us to say yes to his love (this is God we are talking about, but he kneels and “asks us”!). Finally God is ready to send a unique human being, one who is like the rest of us in all things, but with more depth of soul, a depth so deep that it lets him be totally at one with God. Here will be a man who can say yes and mean it.
John the Baptist predicts the sending. In this second week of Advent he calls out comfort to God’s people, preparing the way for him, for the ultimate gift, the ultimate reception of God’s love.