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December 4, 2021
 
A Voice is Heard
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
 
The Prophets of the Hebrew Scripture longed for the days when the Israelites and their God first fell in love with one another. I always thought of those beloved texts of people wandering in the desert as a beautiful love story. It is a love born out of the tragedy of slavery and oppression. God heard their cry and came to their rescue. Liberation from slavery is only part of the story. These people received the precious Law of God, revealing the holiness of others and the sacredness of life and Earth. They were to live on Earth as if in the Sanctuary of the Lord forever. The essence of any prayer or sacrifice is based on the practice of justice by which the widow is defended and the orphan nourished (see Isaiah 1: 11-17). Love makes great demands on the beloved. The Law of God reveals our better nature as a people inviting us to live well in our dealings with one another.
 
The Christian traditions are deeply blessed to have the prophetic teachings as part of their heritage. These transformative verses can deeply move people of all faiths. It would do us well to study the Hebrew Prophets in their own right as we pursue a better World based on justice, understanding, and compassion.
 
As the Second Sunday of Advent approaches, we encounter the story of another prophet, John the Baptizer. The Gospel of St. Luke situates the Baptizer within the political context of his time (see Luke 3: 1-6). This may strike us as odd, but it is in keeping with the prophetic traditions of the Scriptures.
 
Prophets are as disturbing as they are inspiring. They do not easily separate religion from politics. For the prophets, it is impossible to love God and practice a politic of revenge, hatred, or greed. Prophets demand the religious practices always be based on a justice by which the lowly are exalted and the hungry well fed.
 
John the Baptizer appears on the Second Sunday of Advent and speaks on the Third Sunday. The importance of John the Baptizer to the Gospel proclamation cannot be denied. Interestingly, he appears in the desert wilderness. He is already in love with his God. His person and voice form the heart and soul of the Advent Season in this particular cycle of readings.
 
We would do well to examine our hearts. The Baptizer, following in the footsteps of Isaiah, will make a straight path of justice for the coming of our God. May we travel along that path. God can be heard in the cry of the poor and the voice of the prophets. We might ask ourselves if we are willing to hear the cry of the poor. We might examine ourselves to discover the voice of God in our hearts waiting to be proclaimed in the sometimes wilderness of life.  
 
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for being the voice of God as you go about the affairs of daily life. Thank you for all the times you bless others in the wilderness of life with the kindness of your deeds and the love of your hearts.    
 
 
 

Notice
 
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at:
 
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279