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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011
2nd Sunday of Advent – 4h December 2011
Minced Words

Football managers are renowned for their loathing of the press. Sir Alex Ferguson refused for many years to even talk to them but he was outdone by Joe Kinnear, a former manager of Newcastle United, who made the headlines for his incredibly colourful comments about the press in a live interview. Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that St John the Baptist would swear, but since he doesn’t mince his words and “tells it like it is,” I suspect we would be tempted to sanitise his message which zeros in on the weak points of our lives.

Bur how is it that he is such a credible preacher? John heard, experienced and lived God’s word in the desert and therefore his life and message were one because there was nothing to distract him. Throughout history, other people have gone into the desert to see more clearly and to listen attentively for God’s voice. But for us, our words and actions are often not coherent because the distractions, temptations and cares of this world lead us into a life of duplicity.

The Hebrew word for wilderness is midvar which contains the root davar meaning “word” or “message.” Therefore, the notion is that the wilderness is a holy place to go where God’s Word is unbound and completely free to be heard, experienced and lived. In so doing, all the prophets who experienced this shared intimately in God’s anger, sorrow, and disappointment but also in His compassion and sensitivity for His people.

I suspect that most of us will not have the luxury of a week’s retreat in the wilderness of Judah or the Sinai desert before Christmas. However, we would do well to carve out some time in the midst of our activity to look at whether or not our lives are the pointing fingers of living witnesses who demonstrate that Jesus is near and that He can be found. While John gave powerful witness to this truth, for the people of His time who had missed this truth he offered an experience of forgiveness and salvation – do we allow others or even ourselves to experience that when we identify that duplicity of life?

Blessed John Paul II said, “When we go down on our knees in the confessional because we have sinned, at that very moment we add to our own dignity. The very act of turning again to God is a manifestation of the special dignity of each person, of their spiritual grandeur, of the personal meeting between each person and God in the inner truth of conscience.”

Why not enter the desert, see how things are and then just tell it like it is?

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 12:21 pm