In the first words after the Gospel of the infancy of Jesus and John, Luke follows a frequent custom in the prophetic books of the Old Testament and begins by quoting the civil and religious authorities of the time when the word of God "befalls" John.
Like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos and others, who begin their book by defining the historical time in which the word of God was manifested to them. This means that the Word of God enters history to save it, and its event is historically verifiable. Luke also reveals in this way that he wants to present John as a prophet sent by God. Already in the passages dedicated to the infancy of Jesus and John, Luke had accustomed us to this structure: historical situation and the word of God that arrives. "In the time of Herod, king of Judea." says Luke, the word of God, brought directly by the angel Gabriel, came to Zechariah and then to Mary of Nazareth. He introduces the birth of Jesus by quoting the decree of Caesar Augustus about the census issued "in those days", and that "was made when Quirino was governor of Syria".
Human history and the Word of God are intertwined, and the Word of God who becomes man in the womb of Mary enters history in a completely new and hitherto unimaginable way. The names of the authorities are seven, five civil and military and two religious. A number that in the Bible recalls the fullness. Luke lets us understand that all the authorities of every type and of every epoch, and all human history, will be inhabited in a new way and forever by the word of God, with extraordinary force and efficacy. "Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made level; the crooked shall be made straight, and the inaccessible shall be made level."
We remember the words of Jesus who defines John as "the greatest among those born of women", but also adds: "The least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." We too are in this littleness. Let us remember, then, the prophetic dimension of our Christian vocation. We recognize that it is God's initiative, and that his word received provokes as a consequence: to go, to act and to speak. It is the same process that occurs in Mary and, with more difficulty, in Zechariah. They receive the word and act, and then they prophesy. This is what happens at baptism and throughout the Christian life. To make it easier for us to listen to the word, we are called to reproduce the desert of John: silence, listening, distancing ourselves from the things that shout and do not allow us to listen to God who speaks and sends us in his name. And let us allow his word to take us wherever he wants us to go.
Homily on the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.