Gospel Reflection Dec 5 – Deacon Paul
Sunday, December 5
Second Sunday of Advent
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Today’s Gospel starts with the Who’s Who of Jesus’ time. Luke is laying before us an image of a country governed by the Roman Empire, by kings, and by high priests. These are people with power and whose names carried influence.
But contrast that with John the Baptist, a man wandering in the wilderness who hears the Word of God and begins to preach it. He did not have any of the earthly signs of power, but his words carried the power of prophecy. He sensed that the day of the Lord was close at hand, and he saw a people who were lax in their religious practice…a people who needed to repair their lives and prepare for Jesus’ coming.
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” The words of Isaiah resonated so powerfully that John picked them up and echoed them centuries later. John was preparing the way for the Messiah, he was straightening out crooked roads, and telling people to clean up the mess they had made of their lives.
Friends, while we will all experience stumbling blocks in our lives, we can make a straight path to Jesus by removing what obstacles we can. Saint Charles Borromeo once wrote that “When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace.”
During this Advent Season, let us consider the Sacrament of Reconciliation to prepare for the coming of our Lord and Savior. Let us open ourselves up to Jesus and assess where we need to make straight our paths so He can better walk into our lives. For the path can be made straight either because the mountain is removed altogether, or Jesus leads us out the other side.
The path to Jesus is rarely perfect and if you are weary or take a wrong turn, always remember that the Savior is there for you and will take you where you are!!
-Deacon Paul Zemanek