Scripture: Lectionary #6: Second Sunday of Advent “C”: Baruch 5:1-9. Psalm 126:1-2,3-4.4-5.6. Philippians 1:4-6,8-11. Luke 3:1-6:
Baruch after the example and even Hebrew style shows us that we are on a journey. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians indicates that there is also a journey within the heart that we must take. And John the Baptist is the one who prepares the way for the coming of the Lord. We look for such words ass path, way, and journey as we move into the second week of Advent.
The journey into the desert is where we meet John the Baptist who like Isaiah will be our guide this week. He is preaching a baptism unto the forgiveness of sins and calling for a change of mind and heart from those who have followed him. He will instruct us to join in preparing a way for the Lord who is to come. We must level the hills and fill in the valleys to prepare for this Lord who is all glorious and mighty. His might is seen not through power but through mercy and love which only God can give us. John has followed the prophecy of our other guide, Isaiah, and now shares it with us: “Make ready the way of the Lord. Clear him a straight path. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all humankind shall see the salvation of the God.”
Advent calls us to think new, creative, and fresh hopeful thoughts about the Lord who is coming to save us. We will thus be prepared for the journey to the kingdom of God. We will experience salvation and healing of our ills. It will be our homecoming for God will be among us as our Emmanuel.
St. Luke is an historian, an evangelist, a literary artist and a theologian. His story now sets us in the place we are heading for the city of Jerusalem. To prepare us for the trek from the desert he has John the Baptist telling us how to prepare for the coming of the Lord and what to do on the way to the holy place where the Lord is to be seen. Luke centers us in salvation history and is preparing our minds for the event that will bring all times together in the person of the Messiah soon to be born. We are assured God is working and speaking within our human history to prepare us for the great Event in the center of God’s time—the Incarnation. Our faith in this message is strengthened by Paul in his letter to his favorite people, the Philippians. Paul takes us on the paths that are deep within our hearts by our baptismal faith. These paths are to be cleared and deepened so that the Spirit may work through us and lead us to experience God within us. Paul wants us “to learn the things that really matter.”
Baruch similar to Isaiah tells us that we are not to be afraid of this journeying for God is our guide: “God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” Let us then make straight the paths to the Lord with great joy and peace within our hearts that are being filled with the graces of God this Advent. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.