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

May Justice flower in God’s days and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May God rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. Amen        (Psalm 72)

 
 

Scripture

 Matthew 3: 1 – 12 (first verses follow here) John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel's hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

 

Reflection

Several years ago, a priest with whom I worked was scheduled to preach on this same Sunday of the Church Year. On the pulpit was a large alarm clock. The priest (who was not the presider) was nowhere in sight. After a few silent moments following the proclaiming of the Gospel, a man came up the center aisle of the Church, waving his fists and yelling “prepare the way of the Lord!” His hair was mussed and he wore a garment that looked shabby, torn and dirty. His eyes glistened wildly. When he arrived in the sanctuary and began making his way to the pulpit, we all realized that this was the priest. His message was clear. By his startling appearance and the oversized clock, he was telling us all that it was time we woke up to the presence of God among us.

Today, in this second Sunday of Advent, the person calling attention to the presence of God is John the Baptist. He is the one who came to wake the people up to a new reality, paving the way for Jesus. John speaks to us as well. We are being called to make straight the path for Jesus, so that he may be welcomed anew into our world. We clear this path by being awakened to our failings and sin so that we might clear anything that is blocking the way.
 

The first reading for today from the prophet Isaiah offers equally strange images, meant to shake up our reality and invite us to imagine something new. Lions and calves, wolves and lambs all existing peacefully together is not the world we know.
 
What are paths in your life today that need clearing? Where are the places in our world that need a wakeup call? What sins, personally and collectively, do we need to confess and have forgiven so that the path for the Incarnate Word to be made present once again? Who are the “John the Baptists” in our world today? Might you be being called to be one? 

 

 Closing Prayer

May God’s name be blessed forever; as long as the sun God’s name shall remain. In God shall all peoples of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. Amen. (Psalm 72)   

 
 
 

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Sisters of Saint Joseph of
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