Meditation on Baruch 5:1-9
Although the book of Baruch speaks of the return of the Exiles from Babylonian Captivity (c. 539 B.C.), the book was probably written about 100 years before Jesus Christ. It was written at Alexandria, Egypt, where many Jews were indifferent, and even embarrassed, by their faith. They enjoyed the high living of Hellenist culture. Baruch urges them to "look to the east" (i.e toward Jerusalem) to be delivered from corruption. The gospel begins with a solemn pronouncement of the time: "In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar...Pontius Pilate procurator of Judea ....Herod ...Philip.. Lysanias.... during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.." We can hardly imagine a greater collection of corrupt scoundrels than these! Yet this is the setting for the preparation for the Messiah, John the Baptist's preaching. We think that our own times are rotten, that violence and corruption are everywhere, that institutions no longer work, that the Church is retrenching, and that there seems to be no solution to our problems. In just such circumstances, God sent his Son to save us! John the Baptist calls on us to prepare for his Coming: Straighten out the path of your life. Fill up the valleys of your depression. Bring down the mountains of your pride. Look for the salvation of God.
In the second reading, St. Paul urges us to learn what things have real value, and what is really worthless. Learn to choose what is of value so that we may be ready for the Coming of Christ.