During the final weeks of Advent, we have listened to John the Baptist. Like some of those hearing him for the first time, perhaps we found ourselves asking a genuine listener’s question: “What must we do to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord?” On a personal level, we may find a way to pour oil on the troubled waters of a tense and fractured relationship; to ask pardon from someone hurt by a broken promise; to soften the hardheartedness that makes it so difficult for us to offer or receive forgiveness after a quarrel. Perhaps there are injustices on a larger scale, at home or further afield, on which we should take some action. Would now be a good time to take a stand for what is right? We live in an age of increasing ecological awareness, and we recognize that our planet has suffered serious damage, caused by human exploitation of the good things of Creation. Do we need to extend our concern for the oppressed and the vulnerable and include the Earth itself? In addition, what of the pandemic? Do we realize our obligation to stay safe by following protocols recommended by the CDC and the NIH? We are not alone during this crisis. These are thoughts for listening to the Word of the Lord through the prophetic voice of John the Baptist.

by David McBriar, O.F.M.