Last Sunday I wrote a reflection about the line in the gospel of Mark, “Keep awake. Keep alert.” Our answer as to what this should look like, in our lives, comes in our reflection on the gospel today, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” John the baptist is preparing the Israelites for the coming of Jesus Christ, mainly by his example of humility and poverty(in the way he dressed and what he ate), but also by his words and actions. Upon reflecting on this I think about what areas of my life I would need to change in order to prepare the way of the Lord. I think the most important place to start is in our hearts; are there dark corners that we have hidden from the Lord? Do we need to seek His guidance and forgiveness. Our actions will normally speak from the condition of our heart. Then we can look to our families and our community, seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt, reaching out to the lonely, hungry, or sick, with compassion.
Looking to the depths of our hearts and also reaching out to others, especially in our vulnerability, can seem like a daunting task to undertake. But we can be reassured by the word of St.Peter, “Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace.” This is the way to peace. In opening our hearts to our creator, in seeking Him, we will find a peace there. He gives us this hope. But it needs to start in our hearts, because from there it will permeate and spread out in to all that we think, all that we do, and all that we say.
I was talking with our children, earlier this week, about preparing our hearts for the baby Jesus at Christmas. To get a visual image; our hearts are like little mangers into which we place the Christ-child, and all of the sacrifices(the hard choices we make and things we don’t necessarily want to do) are like a piece of straw. Each time we make these sacrifices we place a piece of straw in the manger of our hearts, so that the more we are mindful of making these sacrifices of reaching out to God and others the softer our manger will be when we arrive at Christmas.
So, as we reflect today on preparing the way of the Lord I encourage you to make those choices to open yourself to the Lord(and His work in you) and to others, to seek forgiveness, and to make those sacrifices that will prepare the manger of your heart to receive the Lord, and that ultimately will nourish your soul, that you may be “found by Him at peace.”
Scripture excerpts taken from:
2 Peter 3.8-14
Isaiah 40.1-5, 9-11