Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The prophet said, “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.”
On this Second Sunday of Advent, the readings have a very prophetic tone as they announce the advent of the Messiah. In the first lines of Mark’s Gospel, we see John the Baptist arriving on the scene. He is the last Old Testament prophet and the first New Testament Prophet, so to speak. John’s mission of “preparing the way of the Lord” in the lives of the first century citizens of Judea is recounted in the first lines of the Gospel.
John announced repentance, a change of heart, and invited the people to be open to God’s acting. John’s message was energetic, radical and to the point. As he announced a new era in the history of salvation, John’s message resonated with the longings of the people of Israel. Their hearts were fertile ground for John’s preaching because of the weight of sin that rested heavily upon them. In the first century, sin might have been evident by the tyrannical occupation of Roman armies, by a religious structure that had become oppressive and pharisaically influenced and by a national attitude of separation instead of inclusion.
I believe that the weight of sin is true in every generation. In our own day the thirst for meaning drives many to seek meaning in all the wrong places. In a world where technology has connected people more than ever before, there is a profound loneliness that drives many to turn in on themselves and fall into despair. The need for prophetic voices in our own day is as important as it was in the first century.
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.”
Who will be the messengers that are sent ahead of the Lord today? Who will prepare the way of the Lord in people’s hearts today? Who will announce the message that people are truly longing to hear? Who will play the role of John the Baptist today? Our modern world is in dire need of prophetic voices that calls it back to the way of truth.
Will you be one of those prophetic voices? How is God calling you to prepare the way of the Lord in people’s hearts?