These words of the Prophet Isaiah were fulfilled by St. John the Baptist: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” We hear these words in our Gospel today. If we carefully and slowly meditate upon these words, we too by our own vocation are called to be John the Baptists in the world today. We too were set apart at birth (connecting us again to Mary yesterday) and we too were given our mission. What’s different is that unlike Mary and St. John, who lived most of their lives completely in God’s mystery and thus had to have complete faith and trust that God’s plan was coming about (so had to rely on the virtue of hope as well) we are given much of the Mystery already! We follow the Mystery – the Son of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Our Immaculate Re-Conception and our Mission is given to us on the day of our Holy Baptism – when Original Sin is taken away from us and we are made New in Christ. From that day, we seek to be like Jesus and we are people who throughout our lives must seek to pave a way for others to follow the Lord.
We seek to get ourselves to Heaven and bring as many people with us as we can.
We work in whatever ways we can to remove obstacles and barriers for people so they find their way to Jesus. When I think about how I “found Jesus” late in life (in my late 20’s, and Jesus found me, I didn’t really find Him) it was the holy example of others, not the pulpit they preached from or the position of moral superiority I recognized. I have come to hear beautiful things from pulpits (and hopefully share a few inspiring thoughts myself) and have come to see the importance of a good clear sense of morals, but these did not come first for me, they are not the “roads” or “paths” I must take as a Priest of Jesus Christ, nor are they of value first for anyone. People must “know we are Christians by our love, our faith and trust, our peaceful sense of hope amid the challenges of the world, our true and authentic joy even in turbulence, strife, struggle and uncertainty.
Are we preparing a way for the Lord, into the hearts of others? Perhaps on this Second Sunday of Advent, we might consider how we can continue doing this or begin to do this this very day!