Week II: Sunday

“... as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Luke 3:4.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The precursor of Christ — the voice of one crying in the wilderness — preaches in the desert of the soul that has known no peace. Not only then, but even now, a bright and burning lamp first comes and preaches the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Then the true Light follows, as John himself said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The word came in the desert and spread in all the countryside around the Jordan.

“Prepare a way for the Lord.” What way are we to prepare for the Lord? Surely not a material way. Can the Word of God go on such a journey? Should not the way be prepared for the Lord within? Should not straight and level paths be built in our hearts? This is the way by which the Word of God has entered. That Word dwells in the spaces of the human heart.

I believe that the mystery of John is still being achieved in the world today. If anyone is going to believe in Christ Jesus, John’s spirit and power first come to his soul and “prepare a perfect people for the Lord.” It makes the ways in the heart’s rough places smooth and straightens out its paths.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 21.)

Also worth pondering this Sunday is a reflection on the Hebrew verb «to prepare

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance into his company.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen