Message – Advent 2 – December 5, 2021

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,

Born to set thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us;

Let us find our rest in thee.

As we continue our journey through Advent, I share with you a reflection on the 2nd Sunday of Advent purportedly gleaned from the internet.

“A voice of one crying out in the desert.  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”

While we’re shopping for gifts, decorating, sending Christmas cards and making preparations for other activities, what are we doing to make Christmas a new rebirth of Christ for our daily lives?

All the readings during Advent remind us that this season is a time intended for spiritual preparation.  It is very tempting to let the busyness of December distract us from the most important purpose of Advent – our personal spiritual growth.

It takes faith to experience joy in the midst of hardships. Faith grows from knowing that the Lord does great things for us because of his mercy — not because we have earned it, as we’ll never be good enough. Repenting from our sins opens us to become aware of this mercy.

Therefore, Saint John the Baptizer is proclaiming to us today: “Prepare the way of the Lord!”

Now is the time to ask: What preparations do I need to make? What am I doing to straighten out the messes in my life, the areas of sin that continually distract me from a close relationship with Christ?

What penances will help “make straight” my path?

What depressing or discouraging valley of hardship needs to get filled with the joy of the Lord? If it seems hopeless, what will I do to let Jesus take charge of it? What mountain of debt or difficult obstacle needs to be made low by having faith in the Lord’s digging tools?

What’s twisted and warped in my thinking, like a road that winds through a jungle of confusion? I pray, Holy Spirit, that you will lead me straight to holiness! What’s rough about me? What’s edgy and sharp and rubs others the wrong way? Lord Jesus, smooth me like a diamond polisher.

Throughout, let us examine the ways in which we still need to see the salvation of God. Let us make a plan of action to be holier and happier each day that the Lord gives us breath.

John the Baptist’s voice is crying in the desert far and near

Calling people to repentance for the kingdom now is here.

O that warning cry obey!  Now prepare for God a way…

…then make straight the crooked highway…

Let our hearts be true and humble, ready for His holy reign.