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Fr. Laurence’s Advent Reflections
Second Sunday of Advent
Advent is more than a countdown. It is an emerging of what we are waiting for in each moment that we are truly present.
Things we want rarely come when we want them. And when they do they quickly let us know that we don't control their coming or going. And so life teaches us that there is a dimension of reality beyond desire, pleasure or pain. It is this hard, often empty space of wisdom that the prophet is thrust into. Here the prophet learns what it is she has to say and how she is meant to make of her life a witness to this deeper meaning.
Nelson Mandela must have learned it in his twenty-seven years of incarceration. How else could he have had that smile of joy and wise compassion that became a source of power for his people transitioning from oppression to freedom without doing to their enemy what their enemy had done to them?
John the Baptist who stars in today's gospel also learned what he had to say - about justice and truth - in a desert. When those he criticized came to him for his baptism he did not grasp at the success they seemed to represent for his career but kept the standard of integrity as high as ever. The truth that burned in him - as it burned in Mandela and in the one whose way the Baptist was preparing - had tamed his ego in the desert of hope.
And we, in our less dramatic way, in our smaller place in history, live out the same prophetic path. In the desert of our waiting, the pilgrimage we set out on each day with a mysteriously renewed faith becomes our school, our witness and the source of whatever truth it is given us to share with each other.
Laurence Freeman, OSB