Prepare the Way

Sunday, December 6th 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

We are already at the Second Sunday of Advent. We Catholic Christians have a firm conviction that we serve a merciful and patient God. In His kindness, He warns us that we will be called to make an account one day for the way in which we made use of the generous gifts and blessings that God has bestowed upon us.

The most precious and valuable gift He has given us is His own Son, Whose birth we are preparing to celebrate at Christmas.

Saint Peter the Apostle described the loving kindness of the Father in our Second Reading this Sunday, telling us that God “is patient with you, not wishing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Yet, in the same passage we received this warning: “The Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar… and the earth and everything on it will be found out.”

How are we to assimilate these two truths — the merciful love of God and the responsibility that comes with the privilege of living as His disciple? The Apostle Peter tells us we should conduct ourselves “in holiness and devotion.” Indeed, this is the goal of our Advent “reset” — to return to living lives focused on Jesus Christ, in gratitude for all He has done for us.

In our Gospel passage from Saint Mark, John the Baptist instructs us to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” We must make good use of the gift of time we have been given this Advent season. Let us make good use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by going to Confession, chisel out a time daily to read the Scriptures, especially the readings from daily Mass, and finally to reach out to someone in need with a word of comfort and consolation or a charitable act of service.

In this way and more, we will honor both the mercy and justice of our God, and we will be prepared to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and responsibly account for all His generous gifts to us.