Today’s Gospel, written by St Luke, endeavors to locate us in a moment of time when John the Baptist asks anyone who would listen to him to “Prepare the Way of the Lord”. Of course, the Church is presenting this passage from St Luke’s Gospel to us today so that we might “Prepare the Way of the Lord” in these days leading up to Christmas 2018.
What is most interesting in today’s Gospel passage is that St Luke doesn’t give us a date when John the Baptist said “Prepare the Way of the Lord”. Instead he lists the names of the various civic and religious leaders who were in power at the time. This is a list of notables who were ruling at the time when Jesus makes his first public appearance.
If we were to make such a list in 2018 we would have to say “In the first year of the prime ministership of Scott Morrison, and the third year of Gladys Berejiklian’s premiership of New South Wales, and the sixth year of Archbishop Fisher’s leadership of the Sydney Catholic Church, and the sixth year of the pontificate of Pope Francis, we people of St Patrick’s Mortlake are ‘preparing the way of the Lord’ in these weeks before Christmas 2018”
No doubt, the great rulers that St Luke lists, like the names we could list today, made, and continue to make, ringing endorsements about what is good and proper for we ordinary people. Nevertheless, in St Luke’s story it is a very simple nomad called John the Baptist who proclaims the importance of Christ’s entry into the world.
It is the simplicity of Johns’ proclamation that is important. Similarly, it is the simplicity of our faith that is important as we prepare for Christmas. Important people may say important things at Christmas time, but it is what each of us proclaims very simply in faith about the importance of Christmas that really matters