By Fr. Francis Odoom
For The Catholic Messenger
We are grateful to God who has brought us to the second week of Advent. As we light the candle of hope this week and listen to the words of Scripture, may we be encouraged to prepare ourselves to welcome the fulfillment of God’s promise in Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.
Isaiah’s prophecy took place about 600 years before the birth of Jesus. He reminded the people of the certainty of God’s promise. The Messiah would come from the line of David; he is a root from the stump of Jesse. His coming would usher in the messianic moment, characterized by peace and harmony and an overflow of the knowledge of God among creation, as the waters cover the sea. The Israelites were encouraged by the prophets to live in a state of constant preparation for the fulfillment of God’s promise.
In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul urges the Christian community to live in hope and endurance through the encouragement offered by Scripture. Paul says, Christ became a minister of the circumcised (the Old Covenant) to show God’s truthfulness to his promise, and to confirm the promises to the Patriarchs. Christ is the fulfillment of all the promises of God. He is indeed, the promise of salvation for all, Jews and Gentiles alike.
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist appears as a voice of one crying out in the desert, to prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his paths. John gives testimony to the uniqueness of the role of the Savior. The birth of Jesus ushers in the ultimate moment of salvation, the moment of peace and justice and an overflow of the knowledge of God. That moment is what we prepare to celebrate at Christmas. It is the reason why we need to heed the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. And how do we accomplish this kind of preparation called for by this Gospel?
It is by living as a people of hope. As Christians, our lives are sandwiched between God’s promise and its ultimate realization. Our lives must give hope to a hopeless world. May our preparations in this period of Advent make us worthy of receiving the Savior at Christmas and at his second coming.
(Fr. Odoom is pastor of Ss. Philip & James-Grand Mound, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-Lost Nation and Sacred Heart-Oxford Junction.)