Fr. Tony Stubeda
From the Desk
of Fr. Tony...
Father Tony Stubeda
Can You See It?
When I was growing up there was a television game show called Concentration. The game board was divided into numbered squares, each square had a prize behind the number, and the contestants tried to match the prizes. When a contestant made a match, a part of a pictogram puzzle was revealed. The first contestant to solve the pictogram correctly won the prizes they had revealed. Of course, sitting on the living room floor the game was easier than being on T.V., and we often solved the puzzle before the contestants did. The trick to the game was putting the pictures and clues into words quickly and accurately, and we were very skilled puzzle solvers.
John the Baptist, our second companion on the pilgrimage through Lent, can be a puzzling figure. When we read of Johnís appearance, lifestyle and eating habits, our imaginations construct a picture of a very eccentric person, in strange clothes with strange eating habits. The Jewish people who go out to see John are not streaming to see an oddity, but to encounter a man who gives every sign of being a prophet of God. His dress and austere way of life mark him as the appearance of Elijah, the prophet who will return to announce the coming of the savior and to usher in the age of salvation. He is the voice of hope crying out that the time has come to prepare for the coming of the Lord. He is the voice of God speaking words of consolation and hope to his beleaguered people.
John joins us on our Advent pilgrimage to tell us that God is already working among us. He proclaims that the Lord is near and we need to prepare a place for him in our hearts, our homes and our lives. Johnís message is not just consolation but also a challenge. Our preparation must include recognizing our own failings, shortcomings and faults. We are asked to embrace the call of God, follow his voice and live in his promise. John becomes our navigator. He steers us through the maze of possibilities to the path of righteousness and hope, goodness and holiness. He is a steadfast guide, and sets our feet on the path to an encounter with the Lord. He is the teacher of our hearts, the compass of our lives and the correction of our vision as we await the dawn of salvation.