Sunday 9 December: “Make straight a path for the Lord”

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent gives an historical account of the political rulers during the time of John the Baptist. The evangelist Luke describes how the word of God was given to John, son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. John the Baptist preached the message of repentance “He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”, and used the book of Isaiah as a guide for his ministry of preparing the way for Jesus “A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight”. The prophecy of Isaiah shows how the glory of the Lord will be revealed on earth “Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth” and makes clear that salvation of God will be made known to all “all mankind shall see the salvation of God”.

Christ’s coming was not just for the people in the time of John the Baptist; it is for all of us in the world today as well. The Advent season offers an opportunity to reflect and give thanks for the good Christ has worked in our lives, and to be reconciled with the loving and merciful Father who wishes to anoint us with his healing grace. God desires to purify our hearts, giving us inner peace and renewed strength to live out our Christian vocation here on earth with love; while preparing us to share in his glory in the heavenly kingdom, when his work in us will be complete.

Pope Benedict reflected upon this theme during his general audience at the Vatican last week:-

In this Year of Faith, we begin the Advent season by reflecting on the grandeur of God’s plan for our salvation…to unite all things in Christ, bringing all creation to fullness in him…God’s self-revelation in Christ corresponds to our deepest human hopes and aspirations and it invites us to respond by offering God the obedience of faith. As our free assent of mind and will to divine revelation, faith calls us to conversion and brings a new way of seeing the reality of our lives and the world around us. During this Advent, may we contemplate ever more fully the beauty of God’s loving plan, and strive to be living signs of his saving presence in our world.

(Pope Benedict XVI, 5 December 2012)