Week Two: Prepare the way of the Lord… (Mark 1:1-8)
In Mark’s Gospel, John the Baptist, is presented to us as the ‘voice crying out in the wilderness’ heralding the arrival of the ‘one who is more powerful than I’ and he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John echoes the words of the Prophet Isaiah, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ Advent is that time of preparation for us as it is a time of patient waiting.
St John of the Cross, whose feast we celebrate this week, asks us to be in a state of preparedness,
The Virgin, weighed
With the Word of God,
Comes down the road:
if only you will shelter her!
How does one prepare for the coming of Jesus? How does one, as it were, make space to become the womb ‘weighed with the Word of God’?
We look to Mary for this. She, who was open to the word of God and accepted the invitation to mother Jesus. She put aside her fears, trusted in the Spirit and believed that it would be done to her according to the Word. ‘Every valley will be lifted up, and every hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level.’ We share in Mary’s experience as she travels the hill country to visit Elizabeth and there glimpse Mary’s delight when she says, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God.’
We too are invited on that same journey of setting aside our fears and boldly mothering God into our world. What is the Good News I can bring to a world so troubled by war and fear? What is the hope I can bring to people who are weighed down by despair? What is the joy I can bring to those who mourn? What is the light I can bring to those who walk in the shadow of darkness?
This week the Jewish community begins to light the candles of Hanukkah. It is a timely reminder to let the light of God shine in our lives and our world; to reach out to those who are in need; to encourage us to stand up for what is just and right; to be undaunted in the face of seeming adversity; and, to rejoice in the goodness of God in our lives.
LISTEN: Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
CONSIDER: Spend a moment with this Advent poem penned by St John of the Cross