Prepare the Way of the Lord
In the comedy, “Christmas Vacation,” the main character, Clark Griswald, tries his best to make his family celebration of Christmas as picture perfect as possible. From taking his family out to the snowy mountains to literally cut down a Christmas tree to having both his parents and his wife’s parents staying at his home for the Christmas holidays with other relatives showing up, all who bring their own messy and dysfunctional issues. He worked for weeks to make Christmas morning peaceful and serene and got anything but that.
Our Christmas preparations can be just as hazardous and messy as the Griswalds’ family Christmas. With frantic shopping, getting ready for relatives, and sometimes dealing with our own or other’s Christmas-time depression; we are given the opportunity during this Advent to look at the reason for the season. Our readings today are very clear: Isaiah calls on us through “a voice in the desert” to prepare the way of the Lord. That every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. It is only then that the glory of the Lord will be revealed.
In Mark’s gospel, he does not tell us the tender story of the birth of the Christ child as in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark’s goes straight to the bottom line: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. He introduces John the Baptist as a humble prophet whose passion is to prepare for the one who is mightier than he, one who will come to baptize in the Holy Spirit. The baptism we have received forever offers us the grace to be transformed, to make our crooked ways straight, and to be prepared, not for the little Christ-child who comes once a year, but for Christ Jesus who we meet every day of our lives. It is the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts and souls, who has the power to heal our messy lives, our sinfulness and who can help us see the face of God in those whose paths we cross in the stressfulness of shopping, in the parking lots, and more specifically in the poor and those on the margins.
We allow the Spirit to change our lives by allowing ourselves to experience the father and the son who are wildly in love with each one of us, so much so that Jesus came into the world to show the Father’s love. How do we do this? There are many ways but I suggest two ways:
1: Go online and find an Advent Calendar, not one that gives us happy or silly quotes but one that gives us a scriptural quote for each day, quotes from scripture that can affect and change our lives each day of Advent.
2: The most important way: take the opportunity to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This sacrament is not just about a laundry list we think the priest will scream at us for; no, it becomes an intimate encounter with the Lord who loves us beyond our comprehension. Take a copy of the bulletin and you will see 2 special days, where there will be many priests here at St. Angela’s available to celebrate this sacrament with you.
May this season of Advent bring about changes in our lives that we can’t even imagine!