Jesus prepares to enter into history — our history — this Advent

Did you ever listen to your parents explain to you what their lives were like before they were married? Or, for those of you who have children, did you ever have that conversation with your children? That background information may seem like ancient history to a young child, but it helps put the relationship of the parents into context. As a child gets older, hopefully he or she will come to appreciate how mom and dad met. If they didn’t meet, the child wouldn’t be here!

We are used to hearing about Jesus’ birth, especially at this time of the year. But, even before Jesus was born, there were events going on in the world. The beginning of Luke’s Gospel passage from this past Sunday describes those events. He tells us about some of the politics and religious events of the day. Most importantly, he tells us about John the Baptist, the one who would proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

This background information about the world into which Jesus was born is important because it is very human. Luke’s historical backdrop isn’t boring, but rather he tells us this information because it helps us to relate to the situation: Jesus entered into the human experience at a particular time and place. 

This is one of the lessons for us in 2018: the same dynamic is supposed to be happening in the world today. Jesus is still supposed to enter into current events: politics, daily life and the religious happenings of the world. We are called to unleash the Gospel and become the modern-day prophets, like John the Baptist, who continue to speak about the mission of Jesus.

Jesus did not just enter into the lives of people some 2,000 years ago. Jesus wants very much to enter more fully into the lives of people today. This Advent season will be ever more enriching if we allow Jesus to be known and proclaimed in our own daily lives.

Fr. Jeffrey Day is Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Detroit.