Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
Messengers and Messages. There is so much to do before Christmas arrives. Parents know this all too well. The house needs to be cleaned. A ton of shopping needs to be done. There is so much to wash and clean and prepare. The food needs to be cooked. The gifts need to be wrapped. There’s much to do before Christmas. So much work to get done before family arrives.
Even those who celebrate a “secular” Christmas participate – undoubtedly unknowingly - the season of Advent. Advent is all about preparing the way; preparing the feast; preparing the arrival not only of our family but of our Lord. This is the message that the Church wishes to bring to all households. Before I can welcome the Lord (or joy, life, fulfillment, friendship and peace) back into my life I need to prepare my heart, my soul and my mind for His arrival. Otherwise, it would be a pointless celebration. I say pointless because if there is no Creator, no Redeemer, no God, then there really isn’t any point or end or goal in what we celebrate. Think about it before you argue with me.
The message that Peter gives is the perfect message for Advent: “What sort of persons ought you to be?” As I mentioned before, not many friends are willing to take on the extra burden of forming your young heart, mind and soul. Family members will help, and most of them do. The Lord will help by sending us his messenger. And this is St. John’s message: Repent and convert. Come back to the Lord. Come back to God so that you can be the man or woman that God created you to be.
Yesterday I went to a YMCA basketball game. Two teams of Kindergarteners were on the court. It was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen. During the second quarter, one child threw himself on the court and threw a fit. As he was screaming his head off he began to pound his fists and kick his legs on the floor. All of us were in shock. I am sure that his mother was very embarrassed of the whole thing. As everyone watched in horror I think I was the only one that understood what was going on. I know exactly what the problem was. No one ever told him that a boy could steal the ball from him. No one ever told him that that was part of the game!
Who I Ought To Be. The Lord has revealed himself to us and these are the rules. St. John the Baptist invites us to repent and convert; to acknowledge our sins. This makes straight the path to the Lord. The Apostle Peter invites us to melt away all divisions, all doubts, all fears and all hatred with the flames of Christ’s love (cf. 2Pt 3:8-14). This too makes straight the path to the Lord.
Let us open our hearts, minds and souls in preparation for the coming of the Lord. Let us wash our hearts, cleanse our souls and dismiss all evil thoughts for the Lord is coming not only to our homes but to our souls. Go up onto a high mountain (Is 40:9) and see the salvation of God.