John went into the wilderness proclaiming:
“as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
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. ’” (Luke 3, Year C, Advent 2)
Advent is the beginning of the Christian liturgical year. It is a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Christ child. So, what does it mean to prepare the way of the Lord? What does it look like? Sound like?
- Does it look like a stockpile of guns and ammunition?
- Doe is look like the gift of a weapon, of any kind, under the Christmas tree?
- Does it look like a group of citizens standing outside a Mosque armed with assault weapons?
- Does it sound like a preacher calling for the deaths of Muslims?
- Does it sound like the empty prayers of politicians who stand before the public like whitewashed tombs but do nothing to stop the slaughter of the innocents?
- Does it sound like speech that is xenophobic, incites fear, and dehumanizes?
No. Those are the actions people who are preparing for violence and death.
Preparing the way for the Christ means, like John the Baptizer, proclaiming the Good News in the wilderness that is our world . . .
A wilderness that did not come from God
a jungle that has been caused by innumerable
human decisions that are
decisions that have created havoc on the lives of many. . .
It means proclaiming that Jesus is going to bring a total difference
and will only be realized when justice and integrity are victorious.
Then, and only then, will the whole of human kind will be saved.
“In the Wilderness,” by Joseph G. Donders, adapted.
For the Christian, welcoming the Christ child involves a different kind of preparation. It means being “cut to the bone ” ( Donders) and facing the reality of our world’s current condition. It means humbling ourselves and being open to the possibility of mercy, forgiveness, and peace.
People will prepare how they will in these times. But we must know the difference between the kind of preparation that leads to fear and death . . . and the preparation that leads to life.