Bishop Robert Barron2017
In our magnificent first reading from the prophet Isaiah, which is echoed in the words of John the Baptist in today's Gospel, a voice cries out: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.” Advent is a great time for us to clear the ground, to make level the path, so as to facilitate what God, with all his heart, wants to do.
The theme of preparing a highway for the Lord emerges from the time of the exile. When the Babylonian captivity was coming to a close, the prophet Isaiah envisioned God making a highway in the desert to facilitate the return of his people to Jerusalem. From what captivity of ours is God leading us this Advent?
In the very first line of his Gospel, St. Mark tells us that he is going to share with us Good News, Glad Tidings, about Jesus, the Son of God. In many ways, the rest of the text is but a playing out of the implications of that statement. In this homily, I explore the meaning of the phrase "Good News" in connection with Jesus.
The God who comes to save us is one who rules with a strong arm, who brings a reward and recompense, who gathers and feeds his sheep, who clears a highway before him. All of these rich metaphors and images are from the prophet Isaiah, the greatest of the Old Testament Advent figures.