“One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” — Mark: 1:7-8
This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent. The readings can be found here.
The beautiful first reading is from Isaiah and talks about the vision where the things that divide us are eliminated and all of Creation is brought together in Unity. The Gospel includes a speech from St. John the Baptist that talks about the need for God’s purifying fire to break down our divisions before this Unity can occur.
“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once suggested that peace and justice will come to us when we reach a high enough psychic temperature so as to burn away the things that still hold us apart. In saying this, he was drawing upon a principle in chemistry: Sometimes two elements will simply lie side by side inside a test-tube and not unite until sufficient heat is applied so as to bring them to a high enough temperature where unity can take place.
John of the Cross follows this theory when he reflects on the soul that cannot reach God until it has learned to burn with love. We too must allow ourselves to burn with love. It is only in this way that we who walk the path of life together can eventually fuse into the Body of Christ. It is only our love for God and our love for each other that will allow us to become one in the person of the one whom we await.
Many may long for gifts, parties, and varied ways of expressing our ability to walk together as families and friends. But the one who comes bringing the Good News of new life is the one whose heart is aflame for the power of God to burn away that which divides us and to fuse us into the power Jesus, a name which reminds us that God saves.
Paul affirms that God will come at a most unexpected time, like a thief, to dissolve all that is useless by fire. From this the new makeover of humanity will be fulfilled and the new earth and the new heavens will speak only of the glory of God.
To prepare the way of the Lord, John echoes, we must allow all that is not of God to burn away by the power of rekindled love. Purifying our desire and love for God over all the other passions of mankind, purifying our longing to be at peace with each other by renewed care and concern for the needs of each, this is how the Good News will be fulfilled.”