2nd Sunday of Advent C
Prepare the way of the Lord. Nothing sums up Advent more than those words. As John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of Christ, we too are called to prepare the way for Christ coming into our lives. But for John and for us, it is not as easy as we would think. Evidently, there are obstacles in the way – the high mountains and deep valleys, the winding roads and the rough ways.

Why is it hard for the Lord to come to us?  I have a theory. It is not God’s fault. Actually, not being God’s fault is a theological foundation for me. The whole history of God proves it. God created the world that we might be in relationship with the divine. God gave us beautiful things so that God might be known. And in an ultimate way, perfectly, God lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ. He was flesh among our flesh, sharing in the humanity he created. God is relentless in coming to us, in being with us.
So it must be we who create these barriers to God’s love and peace. It must be that we have built these mountains, dug these valleys, chosen these circuitous routes and made God’s way to us rough. Never consciously would we do this. We want God’s love and mercy on our lives. Yet we can’t help our circumstances dictate how we receive and perceive the love of God.
Sometimes the obstacles we construct are global and sometimes they are personal and intimate. Does your politics block your faith? The scandals in the church are deeply troubling; do they hinder your relationship with Christ? Or do personal circumstances siphon off God’s love in your life? A wound that does not heal, a broken relationship, always fear. All these have the capacity to cripple or at least disable our friendship with God.
I know what my obstacle is. Being a pastor. Not the stuff that I love like preaching the word, trying to be of service, sharing the life of this great parish family. No, it is the budget and the bills and the boilers, all those things I did not become a priest for. It is the business of the business. And I notice that my prayer focuses not on the peace God can give me but on my “problems.” I fail to account for and trust in the Providence of God for God is the great provider. I should seek God’s peace first then deal with everything else and I am sure all would be well.
But there is good news. Since these are mountains of our own making, we can be the agent of their unmaking. It does not mean that our problems or our situations will disappear, but we can place them in context. And I promise you there is nothing compares with the mercy and love of God. And there is no thing in your life that God’s mercy cannot help transform.
I invite you then before Christmas to choose one barrier in your life and promise that it will not hinder your relationship with God. Choose one element of your life that has blocked the way of the Lord and remove the obstacle. Fill in that valley, lower that hill, choose a straight path and smooth out the road and let nothing stop you from saying yes to the mercy and peace of God.
We are talking about real freedom. The freedom that allows God to come to you, stand by and let you know you are loved. It is what we yearn for and what we were built for. Our Lord wants to come to us as our healer and our hope. We merely have to let him. Prepare the way of the Lord.