Sunday, December 5, 2021
by Sister Edithann Kane, SNDdeN
Have you ever had someone or something come into your life and change you or clarify your direction? Who – or what – was it? When was it? How were you feeling or thinking at that time? For some of us, it may have been somewhat dramatic; for others, a simple mind-changing event. Was it anything like John the Baptist's experience?
Today's Gospel from Luke finds John the Baptist in the desert. He has probably gone there to figure out what his role in life is to be. From his mother and father, he has heard the story of his birth and of his "meeting" with Jesus when they were both still in their mothers' wombs. The writer is very clear about when the word of God came to John. It was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…and we even know the names of the tetrarchs of Galilee, Ituraea, Trachonitis, and Abiline. John may not have known all these tetrarchs, but he probably did know that Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests at that time.
And "…the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert" and he knew what he had to do. Mark sees John as another Isaias, "…going through the whole region preaching a baptism of repentance and forgiveness …" John is to be a voice from the desert urging the people—as did Isaias– to "prepare the way of the Lord." In the coming week we will hear the specific counsel he offers to those who ask how to do this.
We may feel these days that we are in the desert. We see that violence, poverty, greed, unusual natural disasters, racism, large scale deceit, pandemic, a dangerously changing climate, and many other evils are part of our world. Yet, Advent calls us to pray and act in hope and expectation that someday "all flesh shall see the salvation of our God". How fitting that during this season we are educating ourselves and others about all we need to do to Care for Our Common Home as Pope Francis urges in Laudato Si, so that all people will experience the goodness – the salvation – of our God.
As we reflect on John's call, let's each touch into a call that we have heard, when and from where it came, and in what way it has moved us to "prepare the way of the Lord." And let's pray for one another that in at least some small way we can continue to bring Christ to birth in our world.
Luke 3: 1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Edithann Kane, SNDdeN
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Edithann met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Washington, DC when her father was stationed there. From 5th to 12th grade, the SNDdeNs were the primary influence (after her family) on her life. Edithann entered the community at Ilchester, Maryland on September 2, 1962 and made her final vows on November 6, 1971. Her first assignment took her to Huntingdon Valley, Penn. where she taught junior high students for five years. In 1972, Edithann was asked to intern with the Province Secretary and assumed that position the following year until 1978. After a short time at NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby founded by Sisters, and a year of study in Adult Education, Edithann spent the next six years in community administration, primarily as Director of Formation. She then took a position with the Archdiocese of Baltimore as Administrative Assistant in the Office of Planning and Council Services. In 1999, she was offered a position as Assistant to the Eastern Vicar, an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese, which she filled until she was elected to leadership in the Chesapeake Province in 2002. Following two four-year terms, she enjoyed a very restful sabbatical, during which she began preliminary work on a history of the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer/AmeriCorps Program. After two years at Notre Dame Mission Volunteers and a year as General Chapter Coordinator, Edithann now enjoys part-time volunteer service in various SNDdeN projects. Edithann is blessed with two younger sisters. Thanks to them, there are also six nieces and nephews as well as six great nieces and nephews! She currently lives at the St. Julie Billiart Residential Care Center in Ipswich, Mass.