Second Sunday of Advent: Prepare the way of the Lord

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In both the Gospel and First Reading for the Second Sunday of Advent we find the same statement, “Prepare the way of the Lord”.

Advent is about preparation and the two prophets, John the Baptist and Isaiah, encourage us to do this by removing all obstacles. The image that is used is a highway or path. It was the Greek mathematician Archimedes who first stated that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

John the Baptist and Isaiah remind us that this mathematical principal is also true in the spiritual life. If we want the Lord to come to us with haste then we need to “straighten out” our lives; remove the detours, hills and curves. One of the greatest “road blocks” to Christ is our pride. In the Gospel we see the humility of John the Baptist, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals”.

In our preparations for Christmas we often focus on generosity. This is seen in the tradition of gift giving. The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent remind us that we also need to reflect upon the virtue of humility. We know that the Latin origin of the word is “humus” which means earth or soil. To be humble is to be “grounded” in the knowledge that we are made from the dust of the earth.

We are created and not the Creator. John the Baptist and Isaiah understood that they were not the Messiah; they were simply His voice. We always get into difficulty when we are self-sufficient and think that we do not need God.

he Responsorial Psalm presents us with the Magnificat. This great prayer of Mary reveals her humility as her soul “magnifies the Lord”. Following the example of Mary, John the Baptist, and Isaiah, let us “prepare the way of the Lord” with humble and contrite hearts.