Sister Julia Abdala, OSB
St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
This sentence, in this week’s Gospel Mark took from the Old Testament Book of Malachi. The words were included in the Gospel to describe John the Baptist’s ministry. He was to make the Jews aware of their need for repentance and the need to serve and prepare for God. He was trying to get the Jews to accept whatever God brings forth.
So how do we prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths? We prepare much the same ways the Jews were asked to prepare, repentance for past actions and recognition of our desire for and need for God. Our crooked paths are filled with what occupies our time, electronics, entertainment, socializing, shopping. Each of these activities can cause us to swerve from our most sacred and straight path toward the Lord. We are to put Christ before all else. This very instruction was also given by St. Benedict in his Rule in Chapter 72. Making straight the Lord’s path would put him above all else.
Most of us have taken pretty circuitous routes in our lives. We have veered down one winding path after another always searching for what satisfies, but sooner or later we realize that these things just do not provide fulfillment.
So make straight the way of the Lord, make Christ the main focus and you will find the divine energy that satisfies. If we are able to put other items and interests on the back burner and always remember where we are heading, advent will blossom in its meaning of preparing and waiting for God. Then maybe we will be more what we are supposed to be, alive, life-giving and life-sharing, nourishing and heartfelt in both gratitude and compassion.
Questions to ponder.