Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Numbers 24:2-7,15-17 + Matthew 21:23-27
December 16, 2019
“… they all regard John as a prophet.”
Saint John the Baptist is the central figure of the season of Advent. Saint John the Baptist represents everything that Advent stands for. Some might argue that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the central figure of Advent. But she who bore and gave birth to the Messiah is also the one who traveled with Him during His three years of public ministry, who stood at the foot of the Cross, and who witnessed her Son’s Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the college of apostles. Mary plays a constant and unfailing role in the life of Christ and the celebration of that life during the course of the liturgical year. St. John the Baptist’s role is particular to Advent: in this sense, he is the central figure of Advent.
Advent is a season of the desert, during which a straight path is made for the Lord. Advent is a season during which we hear our divine Lord calling to task the chief priests and the elders. For them, John the Baptist was a stumbling block. John did not call them to lofty struggles. He did not bring them into contact with the divine.
John’s message was very simple: Repent. Turn your lives around. All John was asking people to do was to turn around and face the other direction on the path they were taking in life. He didn’t ask them to travel long distances on a spiritual journey: his prophetic message was merely to tell people to turn around, so that they could see the Lamb of God approaching.