This homily is based on Mark 1:1-8.
First to appear on the Advent stage is the familiar but disturbing figure of John the Baptist, the so-called “forerunner and messenger of the Lord.”
We’ve met this guy before: We’ve read about the announcement of his birth before his cousin’s. Yes, that other Annunciation where things didn’t exactly go well: His father Zechariah understandably thought himself and his wife way beyond the age limit for biological parenthood, the angel uncharacteristically lost his cool, and poor Zechariah consequently went speechless for virtually nine months. His prophet son, of course, eventually more than made up for that long silence.
The guy couldn’t wait to play prophet. When Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visited the equally pregnant Elizabeth, the still-unnamed future Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb and even then, even without words, already proclaimed the coming of “him who is to come.”