The theme for this second Sunday of Advent is PREPARE A WAY FOR THE LORD!
I could recall early in September when I took a journey with my colleague who is also my parish administrator to Port-Glasgow to visit a priest friend. After our stay, on our way back the car sat navigation took us to a different route (A82) to be precise which will take us through a double track road towards Fort Williams to Inverness. However, I was not so familiar with the road and there were lots of sharp bends and rough edges with little potholes. Twenty minutes or more into the journey I lost my persevering spirit and opted to turn back to take another route that leads us to A9 towards Perth to Inverness.
(painting by Donald Shaw for www.stmarysbeauly.org)
It was really a very difficult decision but I had to take it because I was afraid we could run into more and more big goods-carrier vehicles.
In the first reading, Isaiah gave us an insight into the origin, the personality and the glory of who is coming. He is the one to bring peace to the world. He is coming to bring hope to the hopeless; to bring liberty to the captives and to declare paradise on earth.
Enemies will seat at the same table to dine and wine. Friends will remain friends forever and no one shall be victimised again.
Isaiah made this clear in his analogy of how animals big or small, even the ones that used to eat and devour fellow ones shall gather together and play as friends.
This is the image of Christ - the Messiah and king.
In the Gospel today John de Baptist known as the forerunner of Jesus, coming from the wilderness after his personal preparation for the coming of Jesus calls our attention to be ready for Jesus' coming.
He said "Prepare a way for the Lord, make his path straight" .
This is a clarion call for readiness as to the coming of Christ.
The question is what 'Way' is John talking about? Is it like my story at the beginning so that the A82 country side road be widened to become a dual carriage way or does he imply another type of road?
John's call is a more of a spiritual readiness. It is a call for us to make our hearts ready for Christ. As we do not expect our ordinary material Vehicles to ride on potholes so also we should not expect Christ to come into our pothole-filled hearts.
Many have started setting up Christmas trees and flowers and making up their homes and streets while forgetting the essential - Our hearts.
Christ is not coming to walk on the streets, or to admire our well set up homes and Christmas trees and flowers. He is coming to redeem us and raise us up from our nothingness to somebody; from our low level to high level; from our great-mess to greatness.
He is coming to rest in our soul and make a home in us. He cannot however come in if we are not prepared spiritually.
Why not then, use this period of Advent to make a sincere and honest spiritual preparation by amending our way of life and taking up the Christ-like life style while still continuing to prepare our different homes and streets!
With St, Paul in the Second reading, I urge us not to give up even if it seems difficult. Remember, he said "It can only be to Gods glory"
By: Fr. James Anyaegbu