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Domenica 10 Dicembre 2023

Second Sunday of Advent - Year B

Word for today
The Gospel of Mark 1:1-8

Getting Moving

It is impossible not to feel the movement in these words, the movement of life. It is impossible not to be moved by the desire to go, to get moving, to leave the sanctuary of non-movement.
The angel shows the way. He flies and walks the way from heaven to earth. He walks on the stars, crosses the galaxies, navigates the clouds and the comets of the heaven and the earth; the way between heaven and earth, from the heart of God to the heart of man, from the celestial dwelling to earthly habitations. A way of peace, continuously beaten by the light, a way of wisdom infinitely travelled and gently trodden upon and marked by truth, the way to life without end trodden upon by the children of love and by his messengers, prophets, and saints. It is the way from God to us, the way from heaven to earth. The prophet angel is sent, another angel prepares the way,  and he resumes the trip to earth.
The celestial sanctuary is the place of departure, a face is the destination. The face of faces. The face of Life made flesh, of boundless, elusive beauty, the visible and invisible face of He who creates everything and makes everything exist. The face of the Son Jesus.
The Baptist angel crosses the heaven of heavens to gently immerse himself in the waters and the blood of the womb of a woman who has seen many seasons but who has not yet transmitted the spring of life, Elizabeth. That face will be the springtime of new seasons for all of humanity.
The Baptist angel makes his way from heaven to earth to prepare the way for the face of God made flesh. He must prepare the earthly way, the way for the advent of the King of kings. From heaven to earth, from a womb to a desert, his wings are transformed into a voice crying out and singing the coming of the Lord.
He is preparing the way, but not just any way,  it is the way of the Lord. The term "way" in the Bible indicates not only a beaten path, a link between two points, but a way of being, a lifestyle; it is the name for that which one does the things one does and that makes one's heart beat within. Preparing the way means changing lifestyles, spiritual decisions, existential motivations. Making straight His path means radically modifying choices towards truth and justice. At that point the way, the path, the journey of life passes through the paradoxical, innovative experience of the Baptist: conversion of the interior path through Baptism in God, turning away from the paths of perversion through Baptism in the Word.
The voice of the angel John reverberates, his cries cut across silences, the crowds listen, the people blaze a trail, open a beaten path in the desert. Now the way from earth to earth, from heart to heart, from voice to voice is the way of a soul that shows the way to other souls.
The people go, recognize the way, trod upon the path, thresh out a new one: changeover. The changeover is within, even if it moves forward and makes its way to the outside. The changeover, the opportunity is within since it is only and always within the soul, within the heart and the mind, never outside of us. A different way opens up, a different opportunity, a new possibility. it is possible to change our lives and it does not depend upon others.
Recognizing one's errors without justifying oneself and asking life and God for forgiveness is the first step to making the changeover. It is life's opportunity for every improvement. Every path towards happiness, every way towards life, every path towards beauty knows that the first, inevitable steps are recognizing one's error, recognizing that one has not  loved enough.
Humble awareness and not making allowances never lead to feelings of guilt, but to an impassioned request for God's forgiveness. Asking God for love is to quench the soul with an infusion of joy and mercy. Filling the mind with feelings of guilt is like feeding the soul with the bread of the evil one, it is like undergoing an infusion of the devil's blood. The new path passes within and through ourselves, through listening to oneself, to one's obscure, moribund places, to one's dreams and wishes, to one's divine prospectives and enthusiastic ideas of the Spirt.
New paths for a new journey begin with recognizing one's errors, recognizing humbly, simply, realistically and without making allowances for not having loved enough or rejoiced enough, for our lack of  intelligence, enthusiasm,  interior cleanliness, peace and light.
Peacefully recognizing one's errors and emerging oneself in God's forgiveness is the way to joy, the way to freeing every instant, every second, every day, every life.
John the angel emerges in the river's water, Jesus will emerge in the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, He will emerge directly in God the Holy Spirit, the Counselor and the Comforter. The two immersions in water and in Spirit are united in a single symbol of God's liberation and mercy. It is the proclamation of a new extraordinary opportunity, that of changing, of being able to change course, of being freed to make an improvement. This is the Gospel that Mark the Evangelist calls joyous announcement, proclamation of joy.
Everyone takes it for granted, but what is lacking in our lives, in our educational objectives, in our catechism, in our morality, in our politics, in our families, in the minds of our times is the prospect that we can change. We can improve. Deception has forced us into a corner with no way out, to paths that are so trodden upon and beaten down that there is no space for new opportunities.
The voice of the Baptist cries out, the voice of Jesus the Son sings out that we can change, it is always possible to improve, opportunities are life itself, and life is an opportunity.
The Lord accomplishes everything and everything leads to the supreme law of opportunity which is the law that permits God to love us without taking away our liberty, to take care of us without being disrespectful, to sustain us without taking our place.
When we pray asking the Lord for peace, unity, realization, and love, the Lord does not concede us peace, unity, realization and love but boundless, perfect,  incalculable, continuous, constant opportunities to grow in peace, in unity, in realization, and in love. One does not repent by obeying something that is on the outside. The mechanism that we need to set off, the steps we need to take, the way we need to take is within.
The voice is crying out and singing joyously to humanity that there is no earthly reason, except for in our head and habits, that we have to live so miserably, so alone and unhappily.
Jesus announces divine astonishment in seeing how we live so dejectedly and at the same time so subjugated by affliction, so bound and resigned to slavery. The Gospel cries out and announces new opportunities  against prearranged uneasiness, against the tenacity of habit, the obtuse inflexibility of human rules made against man and the truth, against the tenacity of earthly traditions that do not improve life at all, against the diligence of stupidity which offers nothing to life, against the obstinacy of spiritual wretchedness which takes away all intelligence and beauty.
Because of  the way we have constructed it in our illusions, our mind is used to wretchedness, fear, depression, unhappiness, sadness. The Gospel of Jesus asks itself and asks us if our hearts too have to get used to all of this unhappiness.
Jesus and his Word announce that joy is possible, that beauty is here: the beauty of days, of hearts, and of persons.