Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord
2nd Sunday of Advent
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
December 6, 2020
Readings: Isaiah 40: 1-11
2 Peter 3: 8-15a, 18
Mark 1: 1-8
We are reminded again of the necessity of preparation. It is part of our normal lives. Even before we eat, we have to prepare our food. We go to the market, buy the things needed for cooking, then we prepare the food in the kitchen.
Isaiah 40: 1-5 Your God says, “comfort, comfort My people. Speak kindly to the people of Jerusalem. Tell them that their time of service is finished. Tell them that they have paid for their sins. Tell them that the Lord has punished Jerusalem twice for every sin they did.” This is the voice of a man who calls out: “Prepare in the desert the way for the Lord. Make the road in the dry lands straight for our God. Every valley should be raised up. Every mountain and hill should be made flat. The rough ground should be made level. The rugged ground should be made smooth. Then the glory of the Lord will be shown. All the people together will see it.”
God is telling us He has wiped away our iniquities and we have received double of all of God’s blessings. Let the valleys be lifted and the mountains be brought low. This means that our hearts should be changed in order to let Christ dwell within us. We need to remove those things which hinder us. In the gospel today, Mark speaks of John the Baptist. When we talk about the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should refer to Christ’s crucifixion.
John was a man who taught in the wilderness, not in the synagogues or temples. God did not choose the pharisees or the priests to preach to the people. He chose a humble man called John the Baptist, who was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather girdle which was not very comfortable. John did not conform to the world’s standards. His diet consisted of locusts and honey. He only had the most basic necessities. He was not seeking comfort or pleasure for himself. Yet, in his simplicity, all the people in the city were going to the wilderness to hear him preach. His message about God was clear and straight to the point. He avoided all the false pretensions of the city. He had one mission and that was to tell the people about God.
In our lives, are we preparing to know the things of God, and for Him to be our Lord? Scriptures tell us that we should seek God early in the morning. Are we seeking Him or are we seeking other things or the cares of this world? John’s sole purpose was to connect people to Christ. To introduce people to Christ and share the importance of repentance.
Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
On the cross, He took away our frustrations and anxieties. With God’s help we need to get rid of the valleys and mountains in our lives; the sins, negative attitudes, stress, all the rough edges – unforgiveness and bitterness. The meaning of repentance is to turn away from these things. We need humility in our lives. John said that One is coming who was mightier than he. He felt he wasn’t even worthy to untie Christ’s sandals.
The lesson today is teaching us about the importance of “preparation.” That we should not be in bondage to the things of this world but rather put God FIRST in our lives.