The Voice of My Faith

Deflate and Repent

One summer we decided to drive to Paris. Because I have a large family, we rented an SUV.  As we got to the garage of our apartment I saw the black and yellow sign saying “maximum 1.8 meters”. I had to wonder if my car would make it or if I would have to let some air out of the tires before I could go in. I made it by just a couple of centimeters, which was a relief. I didn’t want to have to deflate my tires there in the middle of a busy Paris street. This image of deflating is one I would like to use in order to explain our Gospel message this evening.

Dear Friends,

On the Second Sunday of Advent, we are called to deflate our egos. Deflating our egos is the challenge to change our lives and become less self-centered and more God-centered.  Advent is THE season of repentance as we wait for the coming of Christ. Reflecting on the size of our ego is a good start in getting ready for Christmas.

The Gospel According to Mark

 Mark’s Gospel doesn’t begin like the other gospels. The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus; Luke starts with the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and St. John opens his gospel with “In the beginning was the Word.” Mark begins with the ministry of a messenger from God.

The Messenger

John the Baptist was the son of a priest. He was a messenger but he didn’t deliver his message in a temple or anywhere else in Jerusalem. No, he delivered his messaged on the banks of the river Jordan. He announced a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in order to prepare for Jesus’ coming. John’s preaching style was unique and he had a very important message for the people of his time. But today, my friends, is no different today than the days over two thousand years ago. His message is just as important for us today.

Spiritually Empty

Some people went to John because they were spiritually empty. They were good people who worked hard and were well respected in their community, but something was missing. They hoped that John could fill this emptiness. Many of these people went to John because they had it all, but they had realized that it wasn’t enough. They had money and homes, but they wanted more. But then when they got more, their hunger continued. Nothing made them happy. They went to John hoping that he could pull together the broken pieces of their lives, and make them whole.

Spiritually Bankrupt

These reasons for coming to John sound like some of the reasons that people turn to Jesus today. I have known high ranking business people who have reached the top of the corporate ladder and asked themselves, “Is this it? Is this all there is?” Their bank account might have been over flowing but they were spiritually bankrupt.


Today, when we think of repentance we usually think of being sorry for our sins of the past. Mark wrote his gospel in Greek and in the original text, the word he used for “repentance” was metanoia (Met-uh-noi-uh). This word means more than just repentance, it means changing the attitude of our minds, by turning from a life centered on self to a life centered on God.

Letter From Peter

In our Second Reading from Peter’s Letter, we hear that Jesus’ Second Coming is still being delayed because he does not want to lose any of us. He is giving us more time to repent and prepare. He is calling us to metanoia (Met-uh-noi-uh) to a complete change in our lives.

Looking in the Mirror

I think it would be safe to say that most of us have experienced – at some point in our lives - someone telling us that we need to make some life changes. Usually it was probably something our parents said to us when we were in our early teens. Maybe we were doing everything else except that what we were supposed to be doing. As we get older, most people have a tendency to go through life without looking in the mirror or having someone to call you out on your actions. John’s approach seems similar to that of the parent lecturing the teenager: “I want you to do what I told you to do.” And John paves the way for Jesus. Jesus, whose approach is completely different. Jesus doesn’t come along and tell us how to change or what to do with our life. Jesus is the change and the transformation of our life and that is the good news John prepared for the lost to hear.


Each one of us is called to tell the good news in a way that makes us a messenger for the one who is coming. As Christians, we have the role of preparing the way of the Lord, and John the Baptist is our model. We don’t need to cry out from the desert, eat grasshoppers and wild honey….however maybe he was onto something!

The Year of Mark

Last week we began a new liturgical year. For the next eleven months we will primarily hear from the Gospel of Mark. Mark writes in a very vivid style moving from one story to the next. It seems that Mark hardly takes a written breath. His message is somewhat blunt with a hint of urgency. It is a very powerful and dynamic story. Mark’s gospel is the beginning of a story that continues down to our time. It started with John and today it continues with us. John the Baptist prepared others for the coming of the Lord. We must do the same. But before we can help prepare others, we have to prepare ourselves. We must acknowledge our own wrongdoings, faults, our sins just like those who met John down by the Jordan all those years ago. 

Bringing the Gospel Home

We have to be able to look in the mirror realize that we are far from perfect and that we make mistakes. And just as important, or maybe even more important, we have to be able to look in the mirror that someone else holds up to us, be able to accept, without embarrassment or excuses, our cracks and rough edges. We must be ready to change our attitude by turning from a life centered on self to a life centered on God. This can only happen when we first let some air out and deflate your egos. Remember that we are all good people and we want the best for each other. And the next time you find yourself in a conflict or an argument that you can’t seem to get out of, tell the person on the other side of you exactly that. Sometimes we just have difficulties communicating it. Metanoia my friends, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths!”