Sybil 2001

Gospel text

Luke 3: 1-6

1 In the year fifteen of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 at the time of the high priest Annas and Caiaphas, a word of God was heard in the desert in the person of John, son of Zechariah. 3 And he was walking around the Jordan, preaching a baptism which would involve a new direction to one's life and a liberation from all his faults. 4 As it is written in the Bible where these words of the prophet Isaiah are found:

A voice cries in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make the paths that lead to him straight. 5 one will fill any ravine and one will level out any mountain or hill, just as one will make right what is sinuous and smooth the rugged roads. 6 So every human being can see the liberation brought by God. "

Time for dishes

Gospel commentary - Homily

Here and now is what is at stake

From the outset, I ask the question: have you ever experienced some "moments of grace"? By that, I mean moments that you would like to live every second of your life and, if it were totally in your power, you would organize your existence so that it is constantly present from your birth to your death? I imagine a lot of answers, from ecstasy to the beauty of a landscape up to fiery love embraces.

When I try to answer this question personally, I come up with a slightly different result, at least a bit more generic: I live a moment of grace when I am totally open to the "here and now", when I am successful in being fully sensitive and receptive to all that constitutes the events of a day, when I let myself be taught by the beings that I meet and their stories, when I am listening to all the emotions, feelings, concerns, questions, ideas that inhabit me. At the risk of surprising many, this is the moment of grace that I would like to live in every second of my life and that, unfortunately, I live so little ...

What I am presenting here is not a small essay of practical philosophy or wisdom of life, but is directly inspired by this Sunday's Gospel story: "The year fifteen of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Ponce Pilate being governor of Judea ... the word of God was sent to John the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness .... He came to all the regions of the Jordan." Where is this famous word of God? It is in time (the year fifteen of the reign of Tiberius Caesar), it is in a place (in all the regions of the Jordan), it is through a person (John, son of Zechariah).

It is no coincidence that Luke presents the word of God in this setting. We do not deny here the role of meditation, contemplation or prayer. Besides, is not it the same Luke who insists so much on prayer throughout his Gospel and places the important decisions of Jesus after moments of prayer? But these moments of prayer are only intended to open up better to the reality of the present, to history, to people, to events, where God speaks.

We touch here at the heart of the Christian mystery represented by Christmas. To speak of incarnation, is it not to speak of the place where God reveals himself? To say "the Word became flesh", is not it pointing to our daily life? And where was Jesus able to draw this wisdom that astonished the crowds, if not through his incredible ability to open up himself to the whole of reality, to be excited, to listen, to cry, to question himself?

The surprising number of conversions in England of people leaving one religious denomination for another was recently reported in the newspaper, and the testimony of a young woman converted to Islam was quoted: "It's so much clearer, simpler, this emphasis on the transcendence and oneness of God". This type of testimony to Islam is not new and highlights what is difficult, paradoxical, even scandalous in the Christian faith: it is in the flesh and in history that God lets himself be seen and heard.

Having said that, what is expected of me? That I comply with a law, a rule? No! It is both simpler and more difficult: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, every ravine will be filled, and every mountain or hill will be lowered ....". In a word, it is not a question of performing heroic acts of virtue, but rather of removing all obstacles to this limitless opening to life and the whole of reality. And that, everyone must answer for himself.

It reminds me of the response of a drug user who was asked, "What scares you?" His response was not long in coming, "Life, reality, I can not see it!" Today, my prayer for me and for this humanity that I love, is to say, "Lord, lower my hills that hide reality, even if it sometimes makes me shiver, and so I will be a liberated being ".


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, September 2000