We can help prepare the way of the Lord in our daily encounters
by Sister Jane Riha
The key phrase for this Second Sunday of Advent is “Prepare the way of the Lord.” People are preparing for Christmas with its time crunch and tensions. We Christians, followers of the Lord Jesus, are called each Advent to prepare a pathway in our hearts for God to enter and transform us. That is why, each Advent we have a Gospel that features John the Baptist, the great forerunner of Jesus, the proclaimer of his coming among us. The people were anxiously awaiting a Messiah; the reading from Baruch for this Sunday speaks of that anticipation.
Both the Book of Baruch and the Gospel of Luke speak of a type of “construction project” with “mountains made low and gorges filled in” and “winding roads made straight and rough ways made smooth.” In our times, this is meant as a metaphor for the preparation of our hearts. Where are the valleys and the rough ways that need smoothing or filling in? Gentle reflection will reveal that to each of us and invite us to make some changes or pray for conversion of heart. God is waiting to enter freely into our lives.
Along with the anticipation, within the readings for today are threads of joy. In Baruch, “for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and justice for company.” In the Letter to the Philippians, “ I pray always with joy in my every prayer for you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now.”
We can live in joyful anticipation by also bringing joy to those we meet each day. The pandemic continues to create anxiety in the lives of so many. God calls each of us to prepare the way of the Lord, to touch the hearts of others. Our presence in kindness, joy and compassion reveals God’s love in the world.