My Dear People,
As Advent progresses we continue to read from the prophets. This week’s is from the prophet Baruch. That book was written during the Diasphora. This was when the Jews were exiled in Babylon. Baruch shows the manifestation of God’s saving action in returning her children from exile. Jerusalem is called to stand upon the heights and watch her exiled children come marching home on the road laid out in the desert, and led by none other than God.
This is a message of hope to the people of Judea. As the people hear this message of hope now they can trust God and eventually look forward to the coming of the Messiah.
As the time of the Messiah drew closer, there was a voice to prepare the people for this very important event. This voice was not in the cities where people dwell; it was in the wilderness. After having given the point in history, telling all who were rulers of the respective areas so that there would be no doubt of the time, Luke mentions John, son of Zechariah. Luke introduces John the Baptist, who appears in the gospel a number of times. When Christ praises the Baptist, he refers particularly to his strength of will and his commitment to his God-given mission. Humility, austerity, courage and a spirit of prayer figure strongly in John’s personality. So faithful was he to his mission of preparing the way for the Messiah that Christ praises him in a unique way: he is greatest of those born of a woman.
John the Baptist appears on the scene preaching the need for repentance. He “prepares the way of the Lord.” He is the herald of salvation.
Because the coming of the Lord is imminent, people must prepare themselves spiritually, by doing penance for their sins, to receive the special divine grace the Messiah is bringing. This is what he means by leveling the mountains and making the Lord’s path straight.
Every year in its Advent liturgy the Church proclaims the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior, exhorting every Christian to purify his or her soul by an interior conversion.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente