1 John 2:22-28
John 1: 19-28
One of the prominent characters presented to us in the advent liturgy is John the Baptist. Who was John? Why was he baptizing? What was his message? Certain Jews had these questions. So they send the priests and the Levites to John for clarification. First, John admits that he is not the Messiah but a voice crying out in the wilderness. Yes, “wilderness”. That’s where John lived an ascetic life.
Wilderness is a place of simplicity and poverty. It’s a place where distractions and attachments are eliminated. John lived in this wilderness for the benefit of hearing the voice of God. The inordinate attachments to three P’s – pleasure, power and popularity (gained with money), deafens our senses to such a high degree that we become incapable of listening to the voice of God. And so we need to create a place of wilderness within, to listen to the voice of God before we become the voice.
Today there is a need for authentic voices – a voice to comfort, a voice to confront, a voice to encourage. Before we become authentic voices, a wilderness is necessary to tune our hearts and minds to the voice of God. St. Paul of the Cross employed certain spiritual tools like solitude, silence, prayer and penance for authentic listening. Authentic listening shapes authentic voices. John developed an authentic voice in the wilderness. He comforted people by identifying the messiah. He confronted Herod’s immoral life. He encouraged people to repent from their sins. John’s voice was an authentic voice – a voice in the wilderness.
God bless us.
Justin Durai Raj CP is a member of the Passionist community at St. Joseph’s, Hobart.