Are you a mountain or a valley?

Occasion: Second Sunday of Advent

Gospel, Luke 3·1-6

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 the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was 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 throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
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.”

Standout words or phrases

Prepare, make straight, mountains made low


Last week, Jesus told his disciples of the time to come, when people would see great, destructive signs and die of fright, but they must remain alert for those times and be ready. This week, we are rewinding to when John the Baptist sets off on his mission to make ready the way of the Lord. His message sounds similar. John says to prepare the way of the Lord. Mountains will be made low, valleys will be filled.

This is some vivid imagery that may allude to earthquakes and landslides. Eventually, there would be times when the followers of John and later Jesus would feel that their world was being turned upside down. There were many trials to come, and they would need to be strong and have faith that all would turn out as God wills. This message rings true for us today.

To prepare the way of the Lord and make straight His paths is to repent of sin and to make oneself worthy to greet Him when He comes. The people of John’s day were to do so for Jesus’s first coming among them. For us, is to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord at Christmas, to prepare to receive Him at every Mass in the Eucharist, and to be ready for His second coming at the end of time.

John’s sermon is one of hope. Winding roads shall be made straight as we mend our sinful ways. Those that ignore our Lord are the mountains that shall be made low. Those who hunger for Jesus are the valleys that shall be filled.

At this time of year, this passage serves to help get our hearts ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but they ring true throughout the year to keep ourselves worthy to receive Him at every Mass, and of course, for the day we stand before Him.

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