Grace to you!
You may have had a privilege to host a person you admire as your hero? Days before the dinner, you started making preparations. You think about what food to make; how the dinner table will be set—first course, second course, third, etc. The menu has to be right.
You clean your house, polish the floor, clean your kitchen and dining cabinets. You clean the driveway of those weeds that sprout in between the cement. You do all sorts of things ahead of the coming of your august visitor.
What you do is human. It’s expected. You simply want to be nice, a hospitable host. You also want to make a positive impression about yourself. Or simply, you want to be a kind and good host.
Consider the privilege to host the Savior of the world. Or rather, the honor to be part of a celebration during which the birth of the Son of God, Christ the Lord, is the main feast. Do you want to know how in years back, such expectation was planned?
An example is from the prophesy of Isaiah chapter forty. It was a message of comfort and hope (Is 40:1) delivered to the people of Israel when they were captives in Babylon. They sinned. They suffered for their sins. God intervenes to reassure them He saves. Through the prophet, we hear those words, offering a way to prepare for the glory of God, Christ, who will appear at the right time, the day of salvation.
We read from the prophet: “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken’” (Is 40:3-5).
“Every valley shall be filled in” could mean that the void of faithlessness and despair must be filled with faith and hope in the coming Savior.
“Every mountain and hill shall be made low” could be seen as a metaphor against pride in all its forms; the presumptuousness plus ego drive that makes it difficult to see the glory of the Lord as he comes. No one sees the glory of God who has the mountain of pride covering his or her view. Pride is a no-no to glory.
“The rugged roads” could mean crooked and deceitful lifestyle, and “the rough country,” meaness and lack of kindness, mercy and compassion. These must be replaced by the heart open for the coming of the Lord’s glory.
If Christ is to be celebrated as our best visitor ever, doesn’t he deserve a preparation of the kind described above. In preaching the Goodness, the gospel, which is primarily Christ, the Lord, Saint Mark tells us that the forerunner of Jesus Christ announced the coming, referring to the prophet Isaiah (which actually was quoted from Malachy and Isaiah). The message calls us to prepare for the Lord’s coming in similar terms. It was a message of repentance.
We are less than two weeks before the day we celebrate the great mystery that God became man (the mystery of the Incarnation). December 25, chosen for this celebration, affords us an opportunity to anticipate the greatest feast ever.
Our comfort is here. Our consolation is come. We open our hearts so he can make our hearts a home for him. Such openness, as we see from the message of today, is a humble, repentant heart. It is in such a heart that the glory of the Lord is revealed.
Praying for the grace of repentance, spiritual openness and obedience to God’s Word. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Sunday of Advent B: Is 40:1-5; 9-11; 2Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations this Advent Season.