Second Sunday of Advent: Humility
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent (St. Matthew), St. John the Baptist describes himself as, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness”.
In reference to this passage, St. Augustine states, “John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning…Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart”. (Sermo 393,3:PL 1328-1329)
John the Baptist understood with great humility that he was only the voice and not the Word. He states, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”
This remarkable saint offers us an example of the proper attitude that we should have with God: humility. Many struggle with this virtue because of original sin. To put it simply, it was the desire to be like God that got Adam and Eve into trouble. Although they had everything, they still wanted more.
Throughout human history we have continued to want to be like God and each time we have experienced the consequences. Satan tries to convince us that there is no future in being God’s humble servant. As the world becomes increasingly more secular, it is easier to believe that the human spirit trumps the Holy Spirit.
We are not the Word, but only the voice. This does not mean the voice is not important. The voice amplifies the Word and proclaims it to the world. Like John the Baptist, this is what we are called to do by our humble witness. Let us be the voice that prepares the way of the Lord.