Prepare the Way of VIP Jesus
Whenever there is a very important event, there is always need to prepare. This can be a sporting event, the visit of the pope, the president or other very important dignitaries. This entails making everywhere look neat and well kept. Roads are arranged, palm fronts and other decorations are placed especially within the path to be used by those involved. The striking thing is that money which was necessary to maintain the roads and other structures suddenly and miraculously surface.
The Good news we have today is that A VERY IMPORTANT PERSONALITY IS COMING! His name is JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD (cf. Mk 1:1-8). Another part of the Good News is that someone has been sent to prepare the way of the Lord and to make straight his paths. John the Baptist already foretold by the prophet Isaiah (40:3) was this special envoy, messenger or harbinger who paved the way for Christ’s coming. He did this in the Following ways as John Rose Would attest:
1. By an austere lifestyle: he was clothed in Carmel’s skin, eating locust, wild honey and what he could find in the desert. He lived in the Desert and was the wild, ascetic prophet. His life was really his message. Seeing his attire, his food and his crude messages, the people flocked to him and he used the opportunity to preach to them and give them the Baptism of Repentance. In fact “All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins”.
2. By his Preaching about repentance: John’s preaching was centered on a change of heart, a radical change or what we can call a total metanoia. We cannot meet our VIP Jesus without preparation, without working for our conversion and without changing our lifestyle. In fact John makes us know the seriousness and the very importance of the person we are preparing to receive: “In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’” The precondition therefore to receive VIP Jesus is Repentance.
3. By His death: Though not indicated in our readings of today, from the story of John the Baptist we know that he paved the way for Christ’s coming by His death.
In effect the central message of today is that VIP Jesus is coming. The paths, the highways, the mountains and hills, the valleys that Isaiah talked about are all inside our hearts. John K. Aniagwu in his homily on the second Sunday of advent brings to our minds that the Mountains and hills in our hearts are our PRIDE while the valleys are our LACK OF LOVE. On this note, we must bring down our pride and fill out the valleys of our lives with an active love of God and Neighbour. Only then can we welcome VIP Jesus on His arrival.
Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf