adviento: los profetas

Love cries from a stable trough,
His passion foretold.
Still, we make ready
For a world fashioned anew.

The prophets (this week's advent theme) are remembered for their passion for justice. Jesus too, although we tend to think of his passion in terms of the cross.

But Jesus passion was not for death but for life - for friends and strangers; food and drink; the land and sea; for conversations and chance encounters; for traditions and surprises.

Our passions take us out of ourselves. They make us do things we never might of imagined. Passionately we declare a secret love, or stand in silent protest against the war in Iraq. Passionate action rarely fits codes of acceptable behaviour - just look at some of the actions of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible! But our passions can call us to deeper love and justice.

Last week I was taking to a friend about their home town in Chile. They told me it was by the peaceful sea. I wanted to know more, imagining a tranquil bay. No, they corrected me, el Pacífico, the Pacific Ocean. The two words are the same in Spanish. The origins of the word Passion come from the Latin passio, meaning to suffer, and suggest Jesus' passive acceptance of his fate. Yet, we can also think of Jesus' death or passion as a result of his passion for life. The passion for justice which, like many other prophets, was too far outside the bounds of morality for those in charge to tolerate.

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight--indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; (Malachi 3:1-2)

The readings for the Second Sunday in Advent can be found here.