December 8, 2012

2nd Sunday of Advent - C


“All Flesh Shall See the Salvation of Our God.”

Luke places John the Baptist and his preaching in the historical context with a list of names.  “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.”

Some of these people we know because they are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testaments or historical records.

The names of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, brings to mind the oppression and bloodshed that come with the Roman conquest and occupation of the land. [1]

Pontius Pilate was “a cruel and malicious” ruler [2], accused of “constant executions without trial, unending grievous cruelty.” [3]  And remember the way he handled the trial of Jesus?

And the mess in the family of Herod and Philip! Herod stole the wife of his brother and was responsible for the death of John the Baptist's death because John told him it was wrong to do so. 

Annas and Caiaphas were heads of the religious leaders that put Jesus to death.  There, they behaved more like power-hungry and cunning dictators than religious leaders.  

Not mentioned here, but there were other people who were waiting for the fulfillment of God's promise.  John, his parents, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi, the people who came to the desert to listen to John, …

To such a world, to such reality of the human race, the Lord came.  And “all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.”

[1] & [2] Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan. Little Blue Book for Advent 2012, entry for Tuesday – Second Week of Advent.
[3] The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 1249.

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