Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 125; Philippians 1:3-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6.
** Gospel Reading
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice cries in the wilderness;
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
** Further Reading
1. John the Baptist was called to evangelise/prophecy at a particular moment in the history of Palestine. It was a time of corruption both in the civil and in the religious spheres:
Tiberius was semi-retired and as his agent there was a certain Sejanus, a cruel and unscrupulous person;
Anna the High Priest was officially retired, but saw to it that he could continue leading through his five children, one of his sons in law and one of his nephews.
Have you ever thought about time when our Founder was called to start the Missionary Society St Paul? What was the environment like within society and the Church in Europe and in Malta?
2. “… the Word of God came to John …”:
God is the prime agent of evangelisation;
The evangeliser has to be evangelised himself before he evangelises others.
Can you see these two realities in the life of Joseph De Piro and the foundation of the Missionary Society of St Paul?
3. “… in the desert.”
Was there any type of desert in the life of the Servant of God?
4. “He went through the whole Jordan district …”
John travelled from the desert to the Jordan area; where did De Piro’s journey take him?
5. Luke wrote after Matthew and Mark. The third Evangelist seemed to be noticing that, because of Matthew’s and Mark’s presentations, the Baptist was becoming more popular than Jesus; at times people were getting the impression that he was even an opponent of the Lord and at other times he was being considered as himself the Messiah. To correct these false impressions Luke used the words “A voice cries in the wilderness …”
In what way was De Piro ‘A voice in the wilderness?’
6. Luke 3:4b-6 is parallel to Isaiah 40:3-5. While the prophet Isaiah speaks about salvation as coming from the living of the Torah, given by God through Moses, Luke speaks of the Father’s love-salvation that incarnated in Jesus and dwelt among us through the power of the Spirit.
Do you think that De Piro evangelised “the Father’s love-salvation incarnated in Jesus”?