This Second Sunday of Advent we make the words of the gospel our prayer:
May the valleys of despair be filled with hope;
may the mountains of obstacles to peace be made low;
may the winding roads that lead astray be made straight and
the rough ways of return to health and wholeness be made smooth—
MAY ALL FLESH SEE SALVATION AND REDEMPTION BY OUR GOD!
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.
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—no wonder the hate, no wonder the lashing out.
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, “The Lord has done great things for us!” The Lord has given us all that we need—all that we need to find our way and “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 Jesus’ response, just because we have heard it to the point of “ho, hum” —probably followed by a yawn. 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 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. —Continued Advent blessings to you! Msgr. Richard