The Second Sunday of Advent
This is a time of the year when we work at being comfortable. Because it is getting colder, we pull out our woolen sweaters and our hats and scarves and mittens to ward off the cold. Because it is the darkest time of year, we decorate our homes and trees with brightly colored lights. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we even try to eat what we call “comfort food”, baked goods and foods loaded with carbohydrates that help to keep us warm.
And so, in the midst of all of our comfortable activities, John the Baptist has the nerve to walk in and try to disrupt it all. In no sense of the word was John the Baptist a comfortable person. John preached a message of repentance. Repentance not because we are pitiful and depraved, but because the time of God's compassion and healing is upon us. John announced that the time of reconciliation which Isaiah prophesied when all people and all nature would once again be restored to harmony was about to break upon them. Jesus would offer that message of healing and reconciliation that people from the beginning of time had only dreamed of. And that message of hope and compassion is held out to us as well.
Advent is a time of healing brokenness and reconciling differences. So we need to level the mountains, to fill in the valleys, and to make smooth the rough ways of our lives.
In other words, to prepare for Christ we don't need to wear camel skins or eat locusts and wild honey. But we do need to remove the obstacles that block our road, our highway, to God. Let us make ourselves a little uncomfortable for others in this comfortable time of the year.
Fr. Larry Snyder
Vice President for Mission