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Prepare The Way of The Lord

Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (10/12/2023)

(Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Psalms 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8)

Fr. Samuel Odeh

But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)

Today’s readings invite us to “make straight” the way of the Lord into our hearts and live this Christmas for meeting with Christ.  This amounts to a call to conversion, a change of heart, a turning around to face God.  As John the Baptist points out in the gospel reading, an important part of that conversion for a Christian is humility: Christ must increase, we must decrease.  It is little wonder then that the Christ, whom some of us also refer to as Mighty One, chose to come among us as a vulnerable infant whose weaknesses we do not normally associate with the all-powerful God.  If we are to celebrate his coming at Christmas appropriately, what should we not leave out in our preparations?

In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah God comforts his people in exile, declaring an end to their time of punishment and promising to return them across the desert to a new beginning in their land.  God instructs them: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).  The desert is not the easiest of places to build a road.

In today’s second reading from 2 Peter, the apostle urges his audience to rely more on God’s patient forbearance toward their shortcomings rather than their inaccurate timing of the coming of the “day of God”.  This applies to us also, especially since we tend to make so much haste as the festive season of Christmas approaches.  Peter describes us as Christians awaiting the coming of a “new heaven and a new earth” where righteousness reigns.

In today’s gospel reading, John the Baptist is presented as God's messenger in line with Israel’s prophets. He prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah.  His entire lifestyle and ministry led him to recognize and announce Christ when he came.

As we await the coming of Christ at Christmas, how are we preparing the way for him to our hearts?  Will God find us confident in his provident care for us this Christmas?  When the Messiah comes will he find the path to us prepared with righteous and generous deeds?  Will we be humble like John the Baptist, letting Jesus increase in our place instead?  Will the hearts of the less privileged be able to recognize Jesus as we announce his coming?  Let us not be afraid of being found without a way to ourselves when Christ comes.  We shall achieve and be rewarded because we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Show us thy steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.” (Psalms 85:7)

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