Commentary on the Gospel of

Fernando Torres, CMF


6 December  2nd Sunday Advent

 Church, Prophet of Hope

       This Sunday's Gospel presents us with the figure of a prophet, the last of the Old Testament prophets: John the Baptist. He was the forerunner of Jesus. He put his whole life at the service of a concrete mission: to announce to the people of his time that the Messiah, the Savior, was about to arrive, that it was necessary to prepare the ways and the hearts for his arrival. What John expected and announced was something so new that everything else had become old. Nothing was worthwhile anymore. So he retired to the desert and lived in poverty. His eyes and his life were set on the future. On the one that was to come. John never placed himself in the center. He did not tell those who listened to him to follow him or do what he did. He only warned them to be vigilant, to prepare themselves. John was a prophet: God's spokesman for people.

      The figure of John the Baptist gives us some of the keys that should characterize the life of the Church in all times and places. Also in our time and in our country. The Church, every Christian community, every parish, must be a prophet of God in our world. Like John, the Church is not in the world to announce herself, but to announce the saving presence of God among people. The Church does not exist for herself, to perpetuate herself. Her center is the Gospel. Her mission is to bring the Gospel to the hearts of all men and women and to make the Kingdom of God a reality in our world. Our life and works must bear witness that God comes and wants to come to the hearts of all men and women. Like John, the church must know how to use word and deed to give hope and life to the men and women of our world.

      In Advent, John the Baptist is a model for the Christian community. Like him, we need to know that behind us comes one who can do more than we can. That we are only his spokespersons and heralds. The only mission of the Church is to evangelize. The only reason for her existence is to announce to people that salvation is coming, that it is already present in our world.


For your reflection

    How do we announce that the Messiah, the Savior, is already present in our world? Perhaps we are so well off in our community, we love each other so much, that we forget about the people who are waiting for our message? What gestures or signs do we make to give hope to those who do not have it or have lost it? What words do we use?


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