This Second Sunday of Advent we make the words of the gospel our common vocation:
PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
AND MAKE STRAIGHT HIS PATHS!
There are many ways that we might make straight the path of the Lord, but two very important ways are stressed in today’s readings: working for JUSTICE and being a catalyst for HARMONY and PEACE.
A long time ago now, Pope Paul VI proclaimed, “If you want peace, work for justice.” It only makes sense. We know that justice happens and justice exists when each receives his or her due, when there is equality and fair treatment, and when basic human rights are respected. As there is a very serious and proven global imbalance in the distribution of resources and goods, is it such a wonder that there is not world peace? When people stricken with enduring hunger and poverty a world away are none the less allowed to see the lives of the rich and famous almost flaunted in their faces on beaten up televisions atop a pile of rubble, or sometimes even on cell phones in third- and fourth-world neighborhoods—no wonder the hate, no wonder the lashing out. Of course there are those who perpetrate evil and build the cult of hatred and division—but the poor and the marginalized stand to be the most likely to be recruited and victimized.
The Incarnation of our redemption and salvation remains our hope. Jesus IS “the reason for the season” and amidst all of the ubiquitous bad news we must find hope in God’s Good News; as the psalmist proclaims, Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever. “In HIS time” may be understood as any time that we are doing justice in his name and also as the day of perfect justice when we will see God in God’s heaven—this, then, is our inspiration and our motivation “to make straight his paths.” But do we believe it? Remember how Thomas once protested: “How can you say ‘we know the way’? We do NOT know the way or where you are going!” To which Jesus responds: “You DO know the way, Thomas. I am the way, the truth, and the life!”
It would be very easy to dismiss our common vocation to prepare the way of the Lord, just because we have heard it to the point of ‘ho, hum’ —probably followed by a yawn. (Seems like we’ve heard that gospel a million times.) But, there it is. We need to spend Advent” in a way that allows us to experience Jesus as the way that can lead to “wolves lying down with lambs,” the truth of ourselves and of a the world that can set us free from the prisons we ourselves create; and the life that consoles us in the knowledge of life everlasting.
—Advent blessings to you!