Bishop Barron's Advent Reflection: The Return from Exile
Your daily Advent reflection...
Third Saturday in Advent
The Return from Exile
as we wait, we can feel like we are in exile. Exile is a huge theme in
the minds of the Biblical authors because two great exiles practically
define Israelite history: the exile in Egypt and the exile in Babylon.
In both cases, God’s holy people, his specially chosen race, was
enslaved by a foreign power.
prophet Baruch, who was the secretary to the prophet Jeremiah, writes
from Babylon, from the land of exile. At the time, Jerusalem, the holy
city which, had been ravaged by the Babylonians and left abandoned, its
temple and walls in ruins. With this in mind, Baruch tells the
Israelites to “take off your robe of mourning and misery and put on the
splendor of glory from God forever” (Baruch 5:1). With his prophetic
eyes, he envisions the day when God would lead his people back home.
light of Baruch’s prophecy and this long history of exile and
expectation, we now turn to the Gospel of Luke. Luke begins by
mentioning all of the major representatives of the powers oppressing
Israel: Tiberius Caesar, the king of the world; Pontius Pilate, his
local representative; Herod and his brother Philip, Roman puppets; Annas
and Caiaphas, collaborators.
were all of the people who were, in various ways and to varying
degrees, oppressing Israel. But look how artfully this passage is
composed: after mentioning these high and mighty figures, Luke tells us
that the word of God came, not to them, but to this odd figure in the
Judean desert, this strange and obscure prophet called John.
ways are not our ways. God does not regard people and events the way we
do. How strange that he would come to this seemingly insignificant
what is the message God brings to John? The deliverer is coming! The
Messiah! Not just someone who will liberate Israel provisionally and
politically, but someone who will liberate them from their ultimate
exile, their alienation from the Lord.Israel is going to be definitively
saved, brought home to God. So get ready to receive the Messiah.