Welcoming the Holy

Here we invite you to take time for yourself in personal prayer. The following spiritual reflection offers words and images which we hope will evoke for you an experience of God. 


 

  

Prayer

Merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  

Scripture

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herold was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”           [Luke 3:1-6] 
 

Reflection

The introduction to this Gospel is very direct as it locates the call of John specifically during the historical reigns of several people. John is a herald, one who points to the arrival of the Lord. John the Baptist calls for repentance, but it is a call that goes far beyond a simple confession of wrongdoings. It is a call that involves the whole change of a person. Among the valleys to be filled in, no doubt, are the many gaping sins of omission – the good we meant to do but never got around to doing, our neglect of family and friends, the wasted opportunities for helping others. Perhaps we need to smooth out a road that has been made rough by an estranged friendship or cutting remarks.
We can all say we’re too busy to take this call to repentance to heart. We have things we could be doing all the time. It takes a real effort in today’s fast-paced world to make space for the Lord. Just as friendships can waste away unless we take the time and trouble to keep in touch, so can our relationship with God. It is important to carve out a little time each day for prayer which is simply conversation with God – talking to God about what’s happening in our lives, what we need help with, complaining about what’s not going right, and thanking God for what is good in our lives. Formal prayers are good; a simple mantra like, “Jesus, I love you” or “Be merciful to me, a sinner” are also ways we stay in touch with the one who loves us – always!
This is Advent, a time of waiting, a time of preparation, a time to reconnect with our God. Advent is a time to make right and heal whatever is broken in our lives.
 

Ponder

What is there in my life that I need to straighten out – a misunderstanding, something I regretted saying and I need to make amends, someone I need to reach out to? What can I do this Advent to answer the call to repentance?

 
 

Prayer

Lord God of justice and strength, I look to you in my weakness and sinfulness. Please listen to my prayer and grant me the courage and strength to make my part of the world reflect your truth and goodness. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.