In today’s readings we hear the advice of both Isaiah and John the Baptist, “prepare the way of the Lord.” However, what are we preparing? Didn’t Jesus already arrive over 2,000 years ago? Yes,
but while Jesus has already arrived “out there,” he has not yet been fully received in the hearts of many. So how do we prepare ourselves to receive the Lord into our very center – our heart?
By incarnation, Jesus does not merely secure our salvation for us; he himself leads us to that salvation. But because God hasn’t been fully received in our hearts, perhaps the path that leads to God in some of us needs some repair, and it is still “under construction.” As we hear the invitation from the Prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist in this second week of Advent, is it not the time and opportunity for us to reflect to see if there are obstacles in our path and wonder if road construction or reform is necessary? What obstacles might we encounter that must be removed? We might have to overcome deep-seated resentment, persistent faultfinding, unwillingness to forgive, dishonesty in our dealings with others, or a bullying attitude. We might be ruled by pride, or lust, or an insatiable desire to possess.
In addition, since our heart might not be fully open to receive our Savior, is it possible that we are “blind” to the goodness visible all around us? It has left us with eyes and hearts unprepared and unable to recognize or welcome God who is dwelling here in our midst, where he has always been, showing himself to each of us in diversity and subtle ways. As a result, we are very content to belong to groups that set up obstacles such as unfair housing policies, employment disparity, economic injustice, racial and ethnic biases. These are what Isaiah and John the Baptist call us to repair.
What are we doing to repair these roads?