Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Voice Crying Out: Third Sunday of Advent

If you have every watched the reality show/music competition "The Voice" you know that the first round is a "blind audition."  The singer begins to perform while the judges are seated in chairs with their backs turned to the contestant.  All the judges have to go by is the voice that they hear.  Not appearances, not stage presence.  Only the voice.  Now if the judges like what they hear, they hit a big button and the chair swings around and they can finally "see" the voice.  (One of my favorite blind auditions comes from "The Voice Italy".  You can check it out here.)

So what does this have to do with the Third Sunday of Advent?  I think it illustrates what we hear in the Gospel this Sunday.  Today, we hear John  the Baptist identify himself as "a voice crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord."  We know from last week that he wasn't much to look at and probably didn't have the best presence: a scraggly camel hair tunic and dining on locusts (imagine his breath!) But his voice must have resonated with people because they came out to meet him, and were touched by his message of repentance and forgiveness of sins.  In a sense, they liked the voice they heard, and decided to "turn around" to see and heed the voice singing out.  Oftentimes in the New Testament, conversion really means "to turn around," to return to God, to turn so that we no longer have our backs to God, but we are able to see God once again.
Constantinople, c. 1300.  From

John's message (his voice) is not meant just for the people of ancient Israel, but also for us.  We have a week left in Advent, our time or preparation for greeting Christ when he comes.  Even if short, that's more than enough time for us to begin to turn around, to hear the voice of God calling us back, to work towards conversion in whatever area of our life we might need it.  Let's all hit the big button so that we, too, can swing around and return to our God.  In doing so, we will straighten out way of the Lord so that we can joyfully receive him when he comes to us.

Blessings on your Advent!

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