Second Sunday of Advent


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.”  Luke 3:1 – 6

This Sunday’s gospel tells of how John the Baptist’s message is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.  “Prepare the way of the Lord!” John the Baptist is presented as one who helps to prepare the way for the Lord.  This Sunday’s scriptures remind us that Jesus enters into our human history following a line of holy men and women who looked forward to God’s promise that baptizes us into a changed life. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

Every time I hear this gospel, I think about a song I first learned in college.  We sang it every Advent.  The song is Every Valley.

Refrain: Ev’ry valley shall be exalted and ev’ry hill made low.  And all God’s people shall see together the glory of the Lord.

A voice cries out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.  Make straight in the desert a highway, a highway for our God.”

Comfort all my people. The time for war is gone. The blind shall see, the deaf shall hear, the lame shall leap for joy.

Stand upon the mountain top.  O lift your voice to the world.  Sing joyfully, Jerusalem:

“Behold, behold your God.”

Text: Based on Isaiah 40:1, 3, 4, 9. Text and music © 1970, Robert J. Dufford, S.J

Advent reminds us that we matter to God.  God will never abandon us.  God constantly invites us to be his people.  Often, we get caught up in doing things our way and not following God’s way.  We fill our days with different things and need to keep seeking God’s will in our lives.  Advent offers us an opportunity to witness and proclaim God’s love for us all. May we live this Advent season in hope and love.