Today we celebrate the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist. Advent is a period of joy, expectation, and preparation. In today’s readings we hear of the joy and expectation of two births that prefigure the birth of Jesus. The first reading is about the birth of Samson and the second John the Baptist. Both were announced by angels, just as Gabriel foretold the birth of Christ to Mary. Both announcements brought some hardship, but also great joy. How much more the announcement of the coming of Jesus!
Franciscan theology is incarnational in nature. That is, Franciscans are more “Christmas people.” We rejoice in the “God-man” Jesus. The Incarnation is part of God’s creative plan. According to Blessed John Duns Scotus, the Subtle Doctor, Adam’s sin did not cause the Incarnation. It was part of God’s plan all along. Both Manoah and Zechariah had given up on becoming fathers. That was not part of God’s plan. Both of their sons were to become famous and lead the chosen people to salvation. Today’s message is partly – Don’t give up! Good things can still happen! Let God’s will be done!
This week marks the second half of Advent. It began on Sunday with St. Paul’s “Rejoice!” Let us be joyful and rejoice as we prepare to greet Jesus on Christmas Day. Let every day be Christmas. Share your gifts with all. Be Christmas people!
(On the Brothers’ website, under “Our Life”, there is information about Duns Scotus and the poet-mystic Jacapone da Todi).