(Baruch 5: 1-9; Phil. 1:4-8, 8-11; Luke 3: 1-6)
The Second Sunday of Advent has come upon us- how time flies- and we are introduced in the Gospel of Luke to John the Baptist, preaching in the desert. Now often John comes across not as the saintly precursor to Jesus but as a strange, grouchy old man who lived in the desert (how weird is that!). But we do well not to dismiss John too cavalierly (fair disclosure my patron saint is John the Baptist) and his radical words and lifestyle were intended to shake people up, to get others thinking about what really matters in life.
In today’s reading, John tells us to “Prepare the way of the Lord…”, advice which is timeless. But what does it mean? I think that we prepare the way of the Lord during Advent in two ways: spiritual and material both of which are connected (as each of us is body and soul).
Spiritually we clear out distractions, which prevent us from prayer and reflecting on the gift of the Incarnation. Perhaps we watch too much TV? Or we are chained to our cell phones? Or find it uncomfortable to sit in silence even for a minute? Advent is the time to push aside distraction and pray a little more- it could be the rosary, the Divine Office, the Jesus Prayer or just conversation with Jesus. In this way, we can prepare our heart for the deeper meaning of this upcoming feast.
Materially we can prepare the way- and we do not hear this often- by decorating, putting up manger scenes, hosting dinners or even baking fancy cookies. These remind us that this season is about God becoming flesh (matter) to show us how loved everyone is.
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