Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 6th, 1998

Maureen McCann Waldron

The Collaborative Ministry Office
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Today's gospel gives us a vivid picture of someone who might be considered a stark, raving madman. John the Baptist is seen wandering the desert wrapped in animal skins and eating bugs for dinner. And the things he says! He calls the Pharisees and Sadducees a "bunch of snakes" and tells them not to even pretend that they belong to Abraham's family. He talks of axes chopping down trees at their roots, of baptizing with fire and of storing wheat and burning husks.

Yet, somehow, in the midst of all of his raving, I find that I can connect with John the Baptist. I like his raving because it is born from a deep passion about what he is saying. In this reading he isn't giving me "Advent" words like patience, quiet and anticipation. He is urgent and intense because he wants to get across his message. He doesn't have time to waste.

He speaks of Jesus as a farmer with a threshing fork in his hand, tossing wheat and husks up into the wind. Only the real substance, the wheat, will fall back to be stored. The husks are useless and will be blown away. What is he saying to us in this challenging and frenzied message? What is there in my life that is like the wheat and husks? How much time do I waste on 'husks' that are useless and take up storage space in my life? Can this Advent be a time to really look at what is important in my life and what isn't?

Can I give up my struggle to stop being the perfect Christmas wife and mother? Can I let go of my illusions of Donna Reed and Martha Stewart and accept the fact that my strengths are not in these high-profile and showy areas? Can I admit that there isn't room in my life for these kinds of husks?

What about John's passion for his message? Where is the place that I find that passion in my own life? It's almost a paradox: not until I find the quiet and retreat from the frenzy do I find the deep, fiery passion for God in my life re-ignited. When I place myself in God's arms, flawed and tired, but beloved and blessed by God, that's when I know I'm home. That's the moment I know what I was created for and I want to yell out with John, "Get the road ready for the Lord!"

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