Home » Blog » 2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT C


Fake News = Profit; Good News = Prophet

St. Luke was the historian among the gospel writers or evangelists. Of course, his sense of history is not up to par with today’s sophisticated scientific research, archeology and ethnography. He was concerned not with strictly factual chronicles but with salvation history, the narrative of God’s gracious involvement in the lives of all his people.

In this second Sunday of Advent, we read the names of leaders familiar to the Jews at the time of the John the Baptist’s ministry. Who were these people?

Tiberius Caesar succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome, he being the latter’s adopted son. John the Baptist’s preaching commenced on the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign. This is the only chronological datum for the life of Jesus. No record of Tiberius showed that he had a direct interest in the administration of Palestine. Herod the tetrarch of Galilee was notorious for the death of the innocent infants of Bethlehem, a deed representative of the violence of his reign due to his insecurity in preserving his hold on power.

Philip, brother of Herod was the tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis. He was ever loyal to Rome due to his being educated there. He seemed to have reigned in peace. Caesarea Philippi was named after the emperor (Caesar) and himself. He married Salome, the daughter of Herodias who sought the death of John the Baptist. Lysanias, the tetrarch of Abilene was a little known ruler that only Luke mentions.

Annas was a high priest so influential even beyond his term, proven by the fact that his five sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas succeeded him in office. Annas was the prime mover of the plot that led to Jesus’ death. Caiaphas, Annas’ son-in-law, was the one who suggested that it was better for Jesus to die than have trouble in the land.

Not all these leaders were bad in themselves, but none so far has brought the people to the fulfillment of their deepest desires and the realization of their ultimate dreams. As emperor, petty monarchs and religious leaders, they certainly secured one thing for themselves and for their families – profit. This profit took the form of security, authority, and dynasty.

The people were not interested in the profit of their leaders. Their minds and hearts pined for freedom and meaning; they yearned for messengers from God and the last one came too long ago. The people were waiting for a prophet to speak God’s refreshing word and to point the way for them to go.

John the Baptist revived the prophetic presence in Israel. He came in all simplicity and candor, to transmit God’s message and to awaken the people’s devotion and fidelity to God. As prophet, he spoke at the risk of his very life, opening the path to the salvation that was coming through Jesus Christ.

How many people are there today who pretend to serve but in reality are there to gain? Public officials amass unexplainable wealth and exercise capricious power to lie, defame and kill. Preachers deaden the senses with prosperity gospel through feel-good sermons and theatrical antics. There are surely priests too, who turn their vocation into an occupation. People have a natural instinct to smell something wrong in their leaders and to detest and oppose them.

But thank God, that there comes from time to time the figure of the prophet in weak and defenseless people inspired only by God and inflamed only by love. They smell like the crowd they serve. They give hope and courage. They inspire people to change. They show us the face of Christ. It seems to me, Bishop Ambo David is our prophet today.

This Advent, let us pray for wisdom to reject the fake news of profit and to perceive the good news of the prophet God sends to our lives.