Changing the Regime
Every year in our cycle of readings we read on the Second Sunday of Advent about John the Baptist and this year we get it from the introduction to the Gospel of Mark. ‘Gospel’, old Anglo-Saxon for ‘Good News’ has been described as a news bulletin of regime-change. Something to broadcast to the world and what is it? The triumph of Christ, born at Christmas, crucified and risen at Easter, ascended and glorified at Pentecost. Regime-change par excellence! Consisting as it does of adopting a whole new system of values; how we see others, how we use our time and talents, how we see and value our very selves. Seeing our world and our lives as Christ would. Turning worldly short-term ways of thinking on their head. Now that’s ‘Repentance!’ Adopting Christ’s ways of behaviour, seeing things His way, looking for the signs of His Kingdom, praying for His reign to come.
So John, dressed in the unmistakable garb of the prophet Elijah – and a prophet is not a glorified weather-forecaster but a daunting figure who sees and interprets things as God sees them – cries out at the ford of the River Jordan, swirling with merchants and travellers, intent on their own values, “Change your ways the Lord is coming!”. And it’s his message for all of us this weekend too.
The excitement is on, and will only develop by listening to the ‘Good News’ as we journey towards Christmas. God’s love revealed. God’s forgiveness received. God’s grace showered upon us. If Advent does nothing else, it gives a time to evaluate our own position, our faith, our claim to believe, the evidence in the values we live. A time to examine, “What I have done, and what I have failed to do.” A time that may well involve a serious and well-considered Confession.
We can usually assume that each of the Seven Deadly Sins (if you don’t know them, Google!) are at work in us in some manner and degree, an examination of conscience should help us see how. Listen to John’s message, repent, confess, be renewed and ready. Let’s continue to change our personal regime, ready to welcome the Lord when He comes.
Fr David Jones OLW