Sunday, December 04, 2005

Behold, the Lord will come...

From today's first reading in Isaiah
A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!

From today's Gospel:
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,make straight his paths.”

Behold, the Lord will come ... The Saviour is about to arrive and nobody notices anything. The world goes on as usual, completely oblivious, much as we do today. Only Mary knows -- and Joseph who has been told by the angel. The world is in darkness. Christ is still in Mary's womb. And there are the Jews, still arguing about the Messiah, without any idea that he is so near ... Few people are expecting the Consolation of Israel: Simeon, Anna ... We are in Advent, a time of waiting.

During this liturgical period the Church proposes the figure of John the Baptist for our meditation. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he spoke of: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. (Mt. 3:3)

The whole of John's life is determined by this mission, even from his mother's womb. This is to be his vocation. His whole purpose will be to prepare, for Jesus, a people capable of receiving the Kingdom of God. At the same time he is to give public testimony of Him. John will not seek personal fulfilment through his work but has come to prepare a perfect people for the Lord. He will not do it because it appeals to him, but because it was for this very purpose he was conceived. This is what all apostolate is about: forgetting oneself and fostering a true concern for others.

John was to carry out his task to the full, even to the extent of giving up his life in the fulfilment of his vocation. Many came to know Jesus through John the Baptist's apostolic work. It was through an express indication of his that the first disciples followed Jesus. And many others were inwardly prepared thanks to his preaching.

One's vocation embraces one's whole life, and our whole being works towards fulfilment of the divine mission. God makes the conversion of many children of Israel depend on John's future response.

In his own place and circumstances, each man and woman has a God-given vocation. The divine will desires many other things that depend on the fulfilment of that vocation. Many great things depend -- don't forget it -- on whether you and I live our lives as God wants (St. J.M. Escriva, The Way). Do we bring the people around us closer to God? Do we give good example in the way we carry out our work, in our family circle, in our social relations? Do we speak about God to our colleagues or fellow-students?

In many cases, today's world does not await anything at all. Or it waits facing in a direction from which nobody will come. Many people have thrown themselves heart and soul into possessing material things as if these were their last end. But their hearts will never be satisfied with these things. We have to show the way to such people and to everyone.

Our family, friends, workmates, those people we come in contact with frequently, should be the first to benefit from our love for God. With our example and our prayer we should reach even people we do not have the chance to talk to.

"You know what each one of you must do in his own home, with his friend, his neighbor, his servant, his superior, his subordinate. You also know the way in which God provides the opportunity, and the way He opens the door with his word. Do not be content, then, to live at peace with yourselves until you have won them all for Christ, for you have been won for Christ." -- St. Augustine


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