For the last weeks, our Gospels have been encouraging us to prepare for our encounter with Christ the King at the end of our lives. The focus this week is on John the Baptist, who was also “preparing” for the Lord, but for the beginning of Jesus’ active ministry. In Advent, we are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which happened 30 years earlier. So why would the Gospel present John the Baptist to us?
Maybe because John models for us three steps in true discipleship. Being a true disciple is the best way to celebrate Christ’s entrance into our world, for we are then helping Him enter the lives of other people. The three steps are these:
First, he tells us to repent, both by his example (sackcloth and ashes) and by his preaching: repent for the forgiveness of sins. Being aware of our failures and making efforts to improve are the first step in “preparing the way of the Lord” (in other words, “evangelizing”), because actions speak louder than words.
Second, he proclaimed the Good News: One mightier than I is coming after me. We need to be willing to share with others what our faith in Christ means to us and how it brings meaning and joy to our lives.
Finally, he lived a good life. He did what he knew was right, even though it angered others and even lead to his death.
When we can do these three things, we make the highways straight, we fill in the valleys, and we make the mountains low: a rugged land becomes a smooth plain. In other words, we make it easier for others to hear the call of Christ’s love.
As we continue our preparations to celebrate the birth of Christ, I invite us to reflect on how well we are doing at making it easier for others to encounter Christ, as they see us act and listen to our words. We DO make a difference. God bless.
Church sign of the week: I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody that there’s a somebody who can save anybody.