Second Sunday of Advent
Most of this week’s Record is composed of an Advent Reflection for this Sunday. There are lots of activities at the Cathedral throughout this first full week in December. North West Cancer Research are having their Christmas Concert in the Crypt this Sunday afternoon and at the same time at Choral Evening Prayer the choir will sing Bach’s Cantata 140 for Advent. Tuesday is the Feast of St Nicholas and our primary school children will have Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at 11.15am. The Children’s Advent Services take place this Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm led by Archbishop Malcolm and Bishop Tom respectively. Bishop Tom will also be here on Thursday evening for the Annual SAMM Service (Support after Murder and Manslaughter). Radio Merseyside have their Christmas Concert here on Friday at 7.30pm, with the whole cast of presenters involved in different ways throughout the evening. On Saturday evening at 7.30pm the joint choirs of both Cathedrals, soloists and an ensemble of musicians will be performing Handel’s Messiah here in the main body of the Cathedral. Some of these events are free and others require tickets. Please see our events page for details.
Humility Prepares the Way for Christ:
A voice of one crying out in the desert. ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’
On this, the Second Sunday of Advent, we are given the person of St. John the Baptist to ponder. What a gift he is! Jesus Himself stated that “among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). What a compliment!
What is it that made John so great? We can point to two things in particular. The first has to do with his calling and the second has to do with his virtue. First of all, John was great because he was the transition from the Old Testament Prophets to the New Testament.
He was the bridge that prepared for the new life to come. His unique mission makes him truly great. But John was great not only because of his unique calling, he was also great because of the virtue he had in his life. And it is this gift that is worth pondering for our own inspiration more than any other. The particular virtue that John had was that of humility. He saw himself as nothing other than a “voice of one crying out in the desert.” And the Word he spoke was Jesus.
John acknowledged that he was not even worthy to stoop down and untie the sandal straps of Jesus (Mark 1:7). He was praised by many and followed by many and yet he continuously said of Jesus that “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30). John was not in it for praise and honour; rather, his mission was to point everyone to the Saviour of the world. He could have sought the honour and praise of many and he would have certainly received it. They may have even made him king. But John was more than willing to fulfil his mission and then submit himself to the cruel sword of his executioner. His humility was such that he was focused only on Jesus and desired only to point to Him.
Reflect, today, upon this humility in your own life. Do you tend to point to yourself or to Christ? Do you seek the praise of others or do you humbly point all praise and glory to God? Humility is the path that St. John the Baptist took and it’s the path we must strive for each and every day. Lord, thank You for the gift of St. John the Baptist. May his witness of humility inspire me in my Christian walk. Help me, Lord, to always point others to You rather than to myself. Jesus, I trust in You.
Canon Anthony O’Brien,