John the Baptist: Paving the Way for Jesus
At the time of Mary’s visitation by the Archangel Gabriel, he announced that her cousin Elizabeth, in her eighties and barren, conceived a child to be called John. Mary, filled with joy, set out to care for Elizabeth who lives in the hill country with her husband Zachariah. Elizabeth is a descendant of Aaron, a high priest whose lineage can be traced to Noah.
When Mary arrives, she’s greeted with great joy, the child within Elizabeth seeming to realize the significance of the moment. To Mary she says, “Of all the women you are the most blessed and blessed is the fruit of your womb…” Mary replies “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” These words become two of the most familiar prayers in the Catholic Church, the Hail Mary and The Magnificat.
Jesus and John do not meet until thirty years later. Shortly after, Isaiah delivers this prophesy to Jesus “Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you, prepare your way before you. A voice of one who cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” Isaiah 40:30
Isaiah speaks of Jesus cousin John, son of Elizabeth, now known as John the Baptist. As the prophesy foretells, John travels through the Jordan area proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, paving the way for Jesus.
A Treasure of Qualities to Meditate on During Advent
Yahweh’s patience is infinite; it takes 650 years for these covenants to be fulfilled, reinstating mortals Likeness of God lost at “the Fall.”
(1) Imagine a God so humble and righteous He remains faithful to His laws for the separation of kingdoms even when it requires His Son to willingly undergo extraordinary conditions to atone for the sins of mortal beings.
(2) In preparation for Advent, we may reflect on one or more of the qualities expressed by those we’ve met in these Advent blogs. The Infinite patience of Yahweh; the humility and courage of Mary and Joseph; the possibility of seeking creative solutions through your patience, courage and alignment of your will with Jesus.
(3) Look to the arcs created from the Old Testament to these events marking the beginning of the New Testament, e.g. Abraham asked by Yahweh in the Old Testament to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac arcing to Yahweh asking the Son of God to sacrifice Himself to atone for the sins of mortal beings.