Father Steven Reilly, LC
In the fifteenth
year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius
Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch
of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Abilene, during
the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word
of God came to John the son of Zechariah
in the desert. John went proclaiming a baptism of repentance
for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written
in the book of the words of the prophet
Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the
desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his
paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain
and hill shall be made low. The winding roads
shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know the sincerity of my
desire to spend this time with you. As I begin
this meditation, I believe that you are here with
me, that you never abandon me. Because I love
you, my one wish is to please and console you
in your solitude in the tabernacle. I hope in
the boundless mercy that motivated your incarnation. May we
one day meet again in your heavenly kingdom.
me the grace to renew my Advent preparation.
Concrete History: Today’s Gospel contains a veritable roster of First
Century Palestinian big-names, both religious and political. Why? St
Luke wants to emphasize that God’s marvelous deeds do
not happen in a vacuum, but in the concrete
reality of history. The greatest of God’s interventions, the
Incarnation — when the Word became flesh — happened at
a concrete time and place. This should have great
impact on our spiritual lives. Jesus’ coming among us
cannot be just an abstract idea that I learned in
CCD. Jesus came to this world for ME! This
overwhelming love calls forth a grateful response, unless I
try to keep it at a safe distance. Jesus came
to our world. Will I let him into mine?
A Voice Crying Out in the Desert: The ministry
of John the Baptist was an important part of
God’s plan to prepare people for the coming of the
Messiah. He was very successful and opened many hearts
to repentance and eventual faith in Jesus. So it
is somewhat ironic that the phrase "crying out in the
desert" usually refers to a noble but futile effort.
That, unfortunately, could be the case now, if I
am allowing the Holy Spirit’s inspirations to die in
the “desert” of my self-absorption. Am I so wrapped up
in the material side of Christmas preparation that I
am forgetting the spiritual preparation?
3. "Prepare the Way of
the Lord!" The memory of the Incarnation and the
continuous prompting of the Holy Spirit in our hearts add
up to the great program of Advent "Prepare the
way of the Lord." We are called as Christians
to do precisely this. Society is starving for the message
of Christ. All of our prayers and work should
be done with the spirit of faith, so that we
are indeed preparing the way of the Lord.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, you came into our
world, taking on our human condition. For too long,
this has been just an idea for me. Let it
sink into my heart and stir my will to
action. You have loved me so much. I must
return my love with concrete deeds. I recommit myself to
fight for your Kingdom.
Resolution: I will offer up
three simple invocations spread throughout today, telling Jesus I
love him and wish to prepare my heart to
welcome him this Christmas.