How many of you have alerts on your cell phones? Depending on how you have it set up, you could be seeing something from the weather app, maybe something has happened in the world and whatever news app you follow is letting you know, maybe it(the cell phone) is telling you have an email ,text or something. These alerts can be very helpful, but they can also be annoying. I want to turn mine off sometimes and tell it to leave me aloneâ€¦â€¦.I just don’t want to know
John the Baptist fills the role of an alert for us. “Get ready”. Prepare the way” “Something great is about to happen”â€¦â€¦and, like the people John preached to, we can either listen or ignore it. Isaiah, in the first reading, is the alert for the people of Israel in the exile of Babylon. He basically tell the people: God is about to do something great. Comfort is coming, freedom is on the horizon, we are going homeâ€¦.A new Exodus is about to happenâ€¦.God is going to marvelous thingsâ€¦..and the people of Israel had the same choice as the people of John’s day and usâ€¦..Listen to the alert and get ready or ignore it, don’t believe it, be pessimistic about itâ€¦â€¦
In Jesus, God did something great for the world that was never done beforeâ€¦.the prophets looked for it and John pointed to itâ€¦â€¦..God sent His Son to proclaim the freedom of his peopleâ€¦this freedom was not from a foreign invader, but a freedom from sin, hopelessness, despair, even death itself. God was doing something greatâ€¦.he was taking flesh and walking among usâ€¦.and showing us the way. God was stepping outside what was expected and John was the alert telling everyone to get readyâ€¦.a new day was dawning, a new Exodus was about to happen, and God’s people would be free. The herald was a wild guy who shocked everyone; and Jesus was not the Messiah who would not restore a Kingdom with weapons and violence; the alert would not be the biggest army or the strongest guy; the alert that the Kingdom of God was here, would be the Cross on a hill outside Jerusalem and a empty tombâ€¦â€¦and this alert continues to show us todayâ€¦..”get ready” “prepare”, God is here now among us.
God has used the most unlikely through out history to show us the Cross and Tombâ€¦â€¦one in particular was Juan Diegoâ€¦..a poor Aztec Christian who was of no importanceâ€¦he was a simple man who went out Dec 8 1540 to go to Mass for the Immaculate Conception. On his way there, the Blessed Mother appeared to him and asked that a chapel be built there. When he went to the Bishop(who was Spanish), he ignored himâ€¦..after going a few times, the Bishop said to bring him some proofâ€¦he went back to the Blessed Mother and on that hill, roses bloomedâ€¦remember it was Decemberâ€¦.he wrapped these in his tilma, his cloak, and brought them to the Bishopâ€¦.when Juan unrolled his tilmaâ€¦..the roses fell out and there on the tilma was the image of Guadalupeâ€¦.the image here in church â€¦. And Juan’s tilma still hangs in the basilica in Mexico Cityâ€¦..since 1540â€¦.
Juan was the most unlikely person to give an alert about God’s love and care through His Motherâ€¦.yet, God chose himâ€¦.the image is also an alertâ€¦.Mary does not look European, she has the features of an Aztec woman, clothed in the clothes of the poor, and is pregnantâ€¦waiting to give birth to the one who John the Baptist told the world to prepare for.
My brothers and sister, it would be great if God would send us a plain text alert that he was hereâ€¦..but, the alerts are in the people we meet, especially the most vulnerable and in the most unlikely people, and the alerts in the events of our lives when we open up our eyes and see God, no matter what.
So, let us open our hearts this second week of Advent and let God send us a message to be written thereâ€¦I am always here and now, in and through you, I do something new; I am alive in you.