John the Baptist
Richard Nixon wrote this note on January 20, 1969, during his first two days as president: “Chinese communists: Short range-no change. Long range-we do not want 800,000,000 living in angry isolation. We want contact………” Some nations opposed the idea of contacting Communist China at the time especially the then Soviet Union and Famoso, Taiwan. In response to the opposition to then president of Taiwan, Chiang, Nixon wrote: I would be remiss in my duty to the American people if I did not attempt to discover whether a basis may not exist for reducing the risk of a conflict between the United States and Communist China…..” Nixon’s vision was relatively new to the world at the time. To accomplish what he believed in, he sent Henry Kissinger as the moderator between the two countries. It was because of the connection and knowledge of Kissinger that the mission of opening up Communist China to the world was accomplished.
Kissinger played an important role to fulfill the vision of a leader, so did John the Baptist whom we encounter in this Sunday’s gospel to the mission of Jesus. Luke begins his story of the call of John the Baptist by providing a list of local political and religious leaders. This is the special way of the Bible announcing the arrival of an important person. For example, we are told the prophet Jeremiah first received the word of the Lord “in the days of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. What makes John such an important person in the mission of Jesus? He served as a prophet to introduce a new era was dawning because the Messiah the Jews had longed for was coming. He prepared the people spiritually by preaching the repentance of sins. He also served as the street sign pointing the direction towards Christ. He asked his disciples to follow Jesus for he is the Lamb of God. He baptized Jesus to officially admit He is the son of God.
How was such an important person living his life? He lived in the desert, eating locust and wild honey. He himself set an example on how to be the missionary of Christ. The desert was a lonely place that invited people to leave behind the distractions of daily life in order to find God. In the desert, John fasted, prayed and waited. Advent is a season of doing what John did. With these good preparations to nurture our souls, we are ready to take on the mission of Christ and follow the example of John the Baptist, to tackle the new age’s challenges we as Church need to face.