Saturday, December 06, 2014


By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!  Isaiah 40:3

And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me.  I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  Mark 1:7-8

Our Piety of life is seen in all the ways we have prepared for the coming of our Lord.  ”Prepare the way of the Lord,“ is the cry of our piety.  Our piety levels the mountains and the hills that make our journey difficult.  It fills in the valleys with an easier road to travel as our piety has worn a path that brings us to the wonder of the birth of our Savior.  Because we are going toward the Lord, each day of our journey is worth a thousand years to travel.  The Lord feeds us even as we go toward him as he gathers his flock.  The Lord will carry us to make our journey easier.  The glory of the Lord will be revealed as we draw closer to the Birth of our Savior.  John is the ascetic of the desert that shows us the glory of the Lord.  John is the messenger that shows us how to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.  John speaks of the one mightier than himself whose sandals he is not worthy to loosen the throngs.  John will recognize his Lord as the baby in the womb of Mary.

The history of the Jewish people is one of preparation for the Messiah.  Their expectations took many forms.  The suffering servant Messiah was the last one expected.  They would gladly have run to a mighty king.  It would be the lowly shepherds who would recognize him in the cave.  But it is Mary who would make his coming possible.  She was destined to be the handmaid of the Lord.  Her “Yes” would bring fulfillment to all that the prophets foretold.  It is her “Yes” that we are echoing in all we do to make ready the coming of the Lord.

Action speaks louder than words.  What we do each day to prepare for the birth of Christ requires prayer to uncover what the plan of God is for us.  Our prayer is an action as we recite our agreement with the will of God for us.  Discernment is prayer where we put before God the words of the Baptist and ask in prayer “What is the best we can do today?”  Preparation is the watchword for these days of Advent.  Opening our hearts to the value each moment and living each moment as the purpose of our lives bring into play love which is the giving of our lives for another.  How we offer ourselves takes us into the surrender of more than what we need.  How we surrender some of the necessities of our lives for others makes a big difference in sacrifice because we are giving of ourselves when it is not merely extras that we offer.  How we reach out to those who will not know the source of their gift is what the Christ friend is all about.

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