Thursday, 02 December 2021 08:41

Prepare a way for the Lord

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Advent2CWeb400In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:

A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

(Luke 3:1-6)

 

The sense of preparing is very strong in our readings this weekend. The Gospel highlights the role of John the Baptist as the one who prepares the way for Jesus. It was John’s ministry of preaching and baptism which laid the foundation for Jesus’ ministry. The idea of repentance has less to do with feeling sorry for individual sins and more to do with turning around and facing in a new direction. John’s call to the people was to turn away from the old way of life and to turn towards God.

The first reading from the prophet Baruch is a call to do the same. It talks about taking off the dress of sorrow and distress and putting on the beauty and glory of God. It’s a call for the people to become God’s people. God will lower the mountains and smooth the way so that God’s people can walk in safety, guided by God’s light and escorted by mercy and integrity.

In the Gospel, Luke refers to a similar text found in the writings of the prophet Isaiah. Making straight paths for the Lord can be understood as the radical change of behaviour away from sin and towards God.

The loving action of God gently fills in the valleys and lowers the mountains and straightens and smooths the roads so that we can be fully open to the living and transforming presence of Jesus so that ‘all mankind shall see the salvation of God’ in and through us.

Our Advent readings help us realise God’s profound love for us and his presence within us through the Holy Spirit. Knowing that God will always treat us with love and tender care helps us to turn again towards him and to trust in the depth of his mercy.

Our Advent journey is showing us how to prepare our hearts for a fresh discovery of God’s presence in our lives; how to recognise the hidden presence of Jesus among and around us; how to turn around and face towards God with faith, hope and love; and how to be the living presence of Jesus in our moment of history.

Read our Celebrating At Home prayers and reflections for this Sunday:

pdf Celebrating At Home 2nd Sunday of Advent [PDF] (1.10 MB)
default Celebrating At Home 2nd Sunday of Advent [ePub] (2.11 MB)

 

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