Read Baruch 5:1-9, Psalm 126:1-6, Philippians 1:4-11 and Luke 3:1-6
“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:5-6)
Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, the church today presents us with the character of John the Baptist who became the voice crying out in the desert as the Baruch prophesied hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Today, we shall spend some time to reflect deeper into the content and message of this great voice which heralded the coming of the Messiah among men.
1. Prepare the Way of the Lord, Make His Paths Straight.
The first point we grasp from this statement is that Jesus will not force His way on anyone, we must actively clear the way for Him. Secondly, it shows that there are things that can prevent God from coming to us. Think of this: Are there books, movies, pictures, or magazines in your house, in your bedroom, or in your smartphone that are preventing you from focusing on Jesus?
Remember, Jesus himself said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Do you still gather as a family to pray? Or could the absence of prayer from your home be the stumbling block that you need to remove to allow Jesus to take center stage in your family life?
Nothing attracts God as much as love. Where there is true love, there is God because God is love. Is there bitterness, anger, animosity, envy, and sadness in your home or among your colleagues at work/school? Have you taken out time to forgive those who hurt you this year? Remember, Christ cannot live in a heart that is merciless, a heart that never forgives, recants past deeds, or constantly seeks revenge.
2. Fill up the Valleys.
Our valleys are like dangerous pot-holes in our character that people do not easily sight from afar until they get close to us. Valleys represent our lack, our dark sides, our bad habits, our hidden faults; they are character flaws that we often struggle to admit. Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus: “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).
We know where our valleys are located. We know those things we like to do in secret that is completely against our conscience. Today, we are called to fill up our valleys. As St. Paul prays for us in today’s second reading, may we use this period of Advent to “approve what is excellent, to become be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, and be filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:10-11)
3. Bring Low every Mountain.
While valleys may represent those hidden secrets we keep, mountains and hills represent those that we like to show. One example of a mountain in our lives is Pride. Do you see yourself as better than others for any reason whatsoever? As the book of Proverbs teaches: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).
Another example of a mountain in our lives is our love for material riches. In his explanation of the parable of the sower, Jesus makes clear the fact that the materially-minded Christian is like a seed sown among thorns, “this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22). Is your quest for material riches preventing you from keeping God’s commandments?
4. Make Straight the Crooked and Smoothen the Rough Ways.
The cooked (rough) ways in our lives are deception and lies; our refusal to be straightforward and sincere. Jesus hates lies because He is the Prince of Truth. Every lie we tell aligns our heart to satan, the father of lies. Jesus tells us the devil “was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).
5. Finally, Rejoice and Be Happy.
Our responsorial psalm today says we should “rejoice and be glad.” The natural outcome of proper preparation for Christmas following these four steps above is joy. Prepare a way for Jesus in your heart, cover up the valleys, bring down the mountains, straighten the crooked lines and there is no way you will not be happy. Only a heart that truly receives Christ understands what it means to be happy.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to prepare my heart spiritually to receive you this Christmas. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Second Sunday of Advent, Year C. Bible Study: Baruch 5:1-9, Psalm 126:1-6, Philippians 1:4-11 and Luke 3:1-6).