John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Come, Lord Jesus!
In the month of December, there is so much to prepare. Our to-do lists can be overwhelmed by the presents to buy, cookies to bake, and houses to decorate. Among the many plans, we must also make a spiritual plan to prepare our hearts for Christmas as Christ calls us to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Mt 3:3).
Our preparations may not always go as we plan. St. Joseph was betrothed to Mary and planned to live a long and happy life in Nazareth. However, God had a different plan. Joseph learned that Mary “was found [to be] with child through the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:18). St. Joseph was a “righteous man” and planned to divorce her quietly to shield her from shame. But God had a different plan for Joseph. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife and this unborn child as his own “because he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). Joseph did as the angel commanded him, putting aside his own plans and stepping with faith into the unknown season before him with trust in God to lead him.
In this Season of Advent, we are called to set aside our will and accept the will of God for our lives. We must repent from habits and behaviors that lead us away from God and spend this season seeking ways to connect with Christ in the Sacraments.
In this season, let us be healed by Our Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament so that we are prepared to welcome Him with peace when He comes at Christmas.
As always, know of my prayers before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.