Prepare the Way of the LORD!

Clergy Corner by Fr. David A. Runnion

Clergy Corner for December 10, 2017, 2d Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; 64:2-7; Psalm 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8


A voice cries out in the desert: "Prepare the way of the LORD!" (Isa 40:3).

Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, when humanity separated itself from God, God has both called and helped the human race to prepare for reunion with Him. He first formed a people as His own. Then, as the Spirit guided the prophets to predict the coming of the Redeemer, God's call to prepare became more personal.

The Almighty King of kings would come to earth with power, but also as a Shepherd to gather His lambs and feed His flock, to lead them with care (Isa 40:10-11). Such an intimate reunion would require personal preparation by each of the Lord's sheep, preparation of heart.

The chief preparation necessary to receive the Divine Savior is repentance from sin and conversion to holiness of life: "The Lord does not delay his promise… but he is patient… that all should come to repentance…. conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God" (2 Ptr 3:9, 11-12).

When His coming was imminent, the Lord sent the last and greatest prophet before Him. John the Baptist appeared in the desert, calling the people to "Prepare the way of the LORD," proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:2-4). We prepare our hearts for the Lord through repentance of our sins and by acts of charity.

When the Messiah came to earth, He provided a means of repentance that assures forgiveness of sins: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will celebrate this great Sacrament during our Advent Penance Service on Monday, December 18, at 7:00 pm.

In the Sacrament of Confession, we "obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense[s] committed against him, and are … reconciled with the Church which [we] have wounded by [our] sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for [our] conversion" (CCC 1422). Confession reminds us for Whom we are truly living and turns us back to Him. Through the absolution we receive in this Sacrament, our hearts are prepared to receive our Lord anew.

During this Advent Season, may we prepare the way for the Lord to come anew into our heart and life, by repentance from our sins and by living a holy and devout life.

Grace and peace in Christ, Who is coming to His people.

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