|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second Sunday of Advent – December 13, 2015
I recently had some friends over to my house to celebrate one of their birthdays. In preparation, I did what most us do when we have somebody coming over… Cleaned the house from top to bottom! When the house is clean there is great satisfaction. Do we think our guests know? Would they say anything? No. They don’t. If they do notice it, they are not going to say anything. But we know it is the right thing to do when we have guests. It feels good to have it all clean and ready when we have a large group coming over.
It is that same sense of preparation we hear in today’s reading from scripture, quoting the prophet Isaiah in the gospel today: “Make ready the way of the Lord. Prepare the way for the Lord.” Instead of preparing the externals of our homes where we live, we are called to prepare the internal dwelling of the house of God in our hearts. And just as when we have guests coming over, we are preparing for a similar birthday. It is the birthday of Christ. Imagine for a moment, if we really prepared as if it really was Christ! What if he was really going to come on December 25th! What if we were really readying not just our houses, but the house where the indwelling of the spirit is, ourselves.
What do we need to do to prepare? What do we need to clean up? And it is not so much that others will know, but just that it is the right thing to do for ourselves; it is what we do to honor our guests, who will be arriving, the Christ himself. That is the right thing to do – to prepare our own hearts – to clean out and to ask for repentance of all those things we have done wrong; – to ask for repentance for the things that we have failed to do.
Today as we celebrate and hear what the Prophet Baruch had to say to us about making those valleys filled in and the mountains made low, we know the things we need to do. We know the things we need to stop doing. Today, we promise ourselves to carve out the time to really prepare the way of the Lord; to make clean this house, the house of the dwelling place of God. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make ready his paths.”