During the season of Advent, our seminarians share their reflections on the Sunday readings. Today, Paul Laverty of the Diocese of Paisley reflects on the theme of preparation.
Today, we are presented with the Gospel passage by Luke in which St John the Baptist starts his ministry by proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ by proclaiming, “I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”
John is identified with the subject of a prophecy from Isaiah: “A voice cries in the wilderness; prepare a way for the Lord.” This line of Isaiah’s is in the all the Gospels for the Second Sunday of Advent; it is a foretelling of the ministry of John the Baptist. John came to prepare the Jewish people for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.
During Advent, we too are asked to prepare a way for the Lord, to make ourselves ready. More often than not, we will be more worried about the presents we need to buy and the food for the dinner that we will be cooking. We tend to concentrate on the preparation of material things and not on preparing ourselves properly.
Preparing ourselves can seem scary or hard at times, especially when it has been a while since we last done it, but the Lord wants us to speak and listen to Him. We can prepare ourselves through prayer, works of charity, reading the scriptures and meditating on them so they come alive when we listen to them at Mass, teaching our family about the scriptures and praying with them and make time for Confession before Christmas.
If we prepare ourselves this year for the coming of the Messiah, we will be able to say with the psalmist, “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Psalm 125)