We are already lighting the second candle of our Advent wreath.
In today’s Gospel of Luke, we come across names such as Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate and Herod; places such as Judea, Galilee and Ituraea. What point is the evangelist trying to make by naming people and places in the Gospel? Mark wants to tells us that the mystery which we are about to celebrate in Christmas is not a myth or a fable. The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world is history. It is the history of salvation. It is God’s plan to save humanity from the bondage of sin.
Speaking of history, I watched the movie “The Story of the Nativity, the Truth of Christmas,” and I learned that in the Book of Numbers there is prophesy told by Balaam, a wise man from the east. The prophesy reads, “I see him though not now; I behold him, though not near; a star shall advance from Jacob and a staff shall rise from Israel” (Numbers 24:17). The Prophesy continues by stating that after that king is born he will dispossess Moab and Edom.
The wise men from the east who will come into the scene at the end of Christmas most probably knew about Balaam’s prophesy. Following the star, they went to Jerusalem, the capital city, to search for the newborn King. When Herod heard that the wise men from the east were asking for the newborn King, he became very distressed. He had reason to be distressed, because he was not a Jew. In fact, he was from the town of Edom. This new King, therefore, will dispossess him from his throne. Herod’s immediate reaction was to kill the newborn King in order to protect his kingdom.
As we continue our spiritual journey to Christmas, let us make it relevant by learning something new about Jesus. I invite you to go to www.formed.org (you have free access as a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish) and watch “The Story of the Nativity, the Truth of Christmas.” You will be surprised as to what you can learn from the experts.
I wish you a blessed and joyful Advent Season.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.