II SUNDAY OF ADVENT
isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 peter 3:8-14; mark 1:1-8
we are one week into advent, and many of us are preparing for christmas. our facebook walls have photographs of cribs and home decor, announce carol-singing events, advertise cakes and cookies…
but that’s not quite the preparation scripture and the advent liturgy recommend!
isaiah, in the first reading, assures the exiles in babylon that their desperate wait for freedom is almost over; GOD will lead them, like a shepherd, back home. but the exiles have a task: to prepare the way of the LORD, in the desert, by the filling the valleys and levelling the hills.
mark, in his gospel, has the same message and task. john the baptist invites the people to straighten the pathways of their lives.
peter urges his christians to conduct themselves «in holiness and devotion» and to «be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him».
in the second week of advent, we need to put the c’s (cribs/carols/cakes/cards) on the back-burner and focus on the s’s: spend time in the «wilderness/desert» of our lives; straighten the pathways in our hearts; and share the glad tidings that our GOD is coming with power to care for us.
will i spend time in the wilderness? what areas of my life need straightening: what are the valleys that need filling; which are the mountains that need levelling? how and with whom will i share the good news of the LORD’s coming?
a collegian failed all his college work. he texted his mother: «failed everything; prepare papa.» his mother texted back: «papa prepared; prepare yourself.»
this is our advent task: we need to prepare ourselves for the coming of GOD in our midst. our «papa» is prepared… with his loving mercy.