“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight …”
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ “
Luke was very thorough in placing the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry within a historical context. He set John’s ministry in time by telling who the leaders were in the region. John’s role was to prepare the way for Jesus and to proclaim a theme of repentance for those who would follow Jesus. Like a Roman army of engineers filling in gullies and levelling mountains to make roads, John’s job was to make the pathway smooth for those about to encounter Jesus.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
John the Baptist invites us to repent! But it is true today that many western Catholics never go to confession. Why is this? Many would argue that within our secular western culture there is a widespread loss of the sense of sin. We’ve ended up in a moral ‘grey area’ where anything goes – as long as we can justify it to ourselves. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that we have forgotten that sin is something that harms us.
Confession heals us. It is the first step on the road as we turn back to God. People often talk about having ‘baggage’, but with confession there is no need to carry this ‘baggage’ any more. Healing takes time, and may be painful to begin with, but there is no need for us to do it on our own. Jesus has given us the priests to light our way, guide our steps, and even hold our hand if we need them to. A thirty-something American woman described her experience of confession like this:
“I was scared, shaking in fact. The priest noticed I was nervous but he was so friendly and re-assuring. I couldn’t remember what to say but that didn’t matter – he took me through it step by step. I told him about the abortion I had almost 15 years ago. Finally – I was letting it go. We talked a while and then he absolved me. I am so grateful, and now I am beginning to find peace in my life again.”
- Sin harms us. Confession heals us.
- Is there some ‘baggage’ I would like to let go of this Advent?
- What time does confession take place in my Parish?
Help me find the courage to come to confession this Advent. I want to but I am scared. Help me remember that confession is a healing experience. Help me remember that there is no sin you cannot forgive. Your love and mercy never end Lord.
Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.