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Friday, 2 December 2011


For the readings at mass click   here

A certain time in the lives of the Israelites, they offended God by indulging in all sorts of immorality and idolatry and the wrath of God fell on them. They were taken into captivity by the Babylonians where they suffered and wept terribly (cf. Ps. 137) until God had mercy on them because of his faithful love and promised to send them someone who will deliver them from captivity. 

That was why in the first reading, we see God consoling them through the Deutro-Isaiah. God was sending a prophet to console them. This consolation was not without a responsibility to amend their ways by repenting from their sins and coming back to God. The Lord was coming to save them, liberate them and shepherd them back to the Promised Land. 

In the second reading, St Peter buttresses the fact of the Lord’s coming, urging us to be prepared, because he will arrive at an unsuspected time. God is the originator of time but he is not governed by time, therefore, St. Peter advices us never to count on time while waiting for the Lord’s coming.

The gospel reading assures us that the Lord must come but before he comes, a messenger will be sent to herald his arrival. There must be a messenger who will go to prepare the way. This messenger was reflected in the person of John the Baptist, an inter-testamentary prophet. John was only a pre-cursor to the messiah, always pointing to his arrival, making people conscious and prepared for his arrival. He was that voice crying in the wilderness (cf. John 1:23) and the messenger sent in the first reading to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming (cf. Is. 40:3). St. Eusebius of Caesarea in his commentary on Isaiah sees ‘preparing the way for the Lord’ as the new consolation, because God is about to enter into the wilderness of our hearts which had been impenetrable and inaccessible for a whole age while we remained in sin.

In this season of advent, just as we anticipate the coming of the Lord, God still presents us with another John the Baptist in various ways, to prepare us to receive Christ in our lives. John the Baptist is preparing us through the readings that call us to repentance, the homilies we hear and the spiritual exercises we undertake. In a very special way, he is ever present in the ever gentle and still voices of our consciences in the ‘wilderness of our hearts’. These hearts have been devastated by sin and left in a crooked form by our iniquities. Yet, this John the Baptist in the form of our consciences continues to cry out for us to repair this crooked road and smoothen it by reminding us to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Just as John was swimming against the current, doing what was uncommon, our consciences are also urging us to move against the current. The conscience is always pointing to God, warning us of his reward and recompense which the first reading talked about by always reminding us of repentance and judgement. At this important moment, our consciences prepare us for the sacrament of repentance, assisting us to make our confessions clearly just as John assisted the people to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

In making the road smooth, it is only our consciences that will tell us where there are pot-holes in our spiritual lives and how to fill them. How do you respond to the dictates of your conscience? Are you ready to stop the evil and do the good your conscience wants? Why not make out time to listen and obey your conscience. It was not long after John’s cry that Jesus arrived. Perhaps he might visit you in a short while. Obey and your obedience will win you your salvation but have you recognized this great voice in you?

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