Tuesday 21 October 2014

2nd Sunday of Advent Year B

If you were given a choice to drive from one place to another, either by using the old road, or by using the highway, which would you choose? Some of us may not be so keen to use the highway, since the highway may impose hefty toll charges. But supposing the highway had no or minimal toll charges, would you still use the old road? Quite likely more people would use the highway, especially if the highway has more straightened roads which makes it easier and possibly faster to drive, enabling us to arrive at our destination earlier; compared to the old road which could be winding and narrow, making it a difficult and dangerous drive.

The prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading tells us of a highway: “Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley. ” What sort of highway is the prophet Isaiah talking about? This highway is the highway of our lives. Over the years, our highway may have become bogged down with diversions, winding paths, narrow roads and sharp corners, as we in one way or another have become more and more immersed in the ways of the world and more and more distant from God. Our behaviour, attitudes and way of life may have contributed to the condition of the highway of our lives. Isaiah's call in the first reading is a call for us to make a radical and consistent change to the landscape of the highway of our lives. It is not just a cosmetic change such as repairing potholes or resurfacing the road here and there, but a total change, so that the highway of our lives would be straightened and God would have easier access to us. John the Baptist in today's Gospel echoes this call of Isaiah where he says: "Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight."

When we were baptised, we began a journey of transforming our highway into one which is straight and easily accessible. Our journey requires repentance, a turning away from our sins, and a rejection of our old way of life. We cannot expect others to change for us; we must change ourselves. If we think we are already ok and others are not; if we claim that there is no need for repentance or conversion on our part; then we may begin to think that we are already perfect. If we are perfect, then we do not need God.

Change is difficult, and can be painful; but change is necessary for us to grow closer to God. Let us put aside our stubbornness, our pride, our sinfulness and any obstacles which we may have placed, so that God can straighten us and transform us into something beautiful. Are we willing, humble and docile enough to let God straighten us, so that we would remain in His loving embrace?

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