Second Sunday of Advent

The brave turtle

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'” John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” Mk 1,1-8

One day the turtle wanted to go out into the night. “Where are you going?” – said to her the toad – “How can you see where you are walking?”. Despite this warning, the turtle equally went out and, in fact, she stumbled and she overturned. “I told you so!” – said the toad again – “And now how can you live turned upside down?”. “I do not know – said happily the turtle  – but now I see the stars”. This is the meaning of the conversion: to live contrary of the living like the world, to contemplate the starry sky. The conversion of which John the Baptist speaks today, though, is different from that to which Jesus refers .He asks to accept him as Lord of the life, while John speaks of the precondition to be able to accept him: to straighten our crooked paths. Moreover John, with his frankness and essential way of life, teaches what means to straighten the crooked paths to be free to accept the message of the gospel. It is difficult nowadays to be frank, because the communication is used more to hide than to communicate the truth. Not always this happens because our thoughts are not presentable; often they do not let us be frank for timidity, for false modesty, for lack of self-confidence or because of excessive respect for the opinions of the others. It is also difficult to be essential, because the simple way of life which the Baptist is now proposing is in contrast with the continual offers of the market, which tends to create new needs and then the stress to meet them. The frankness of the speech and the simplicity in the way of life, in counter-current to the world, are the first fruits of the conversion. Otherwise, we risk the end of that fig tree of the gospel, which, not having borne fruit, withered away. It is better to do as the turtle: we go out at night and we live by the contrary of the world in order to contemplate the stars.

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