Today’s Gospel speaks of John the Baptist, who was chosen to announce the coming of Jesus, the Christ, the Saviour
King, “Prepare a way for the Lord,” he calls out, and these words are equally meant for us, as for the people he spoke to directly. John comes “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”, which means not just sorrow for past sins but a total and radical change of outlook with God and other people–a renewal and conversion of heart. This was how people were to “prepare a way for the Lord.” Forgiveness involves a total reconciliation with God, and with all those we have hurt. This was how each one was to have the personal experience, in their own heart, of the saving power of God.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we need to hear the challenging call of John the Baptist and reaffirm our commitment to the Christian community–to the Body of Christ, through which we go to God, and our God comes to us We need to open ourselves to further conversion, to an ever deeper change of heart, to a deeper listening to what Jesus is asking of us. Our own role is not unlike that of John the Baptist. Like him, each of us has a mission to communicate the spirit of Christ, and his message of hope, love, freedom and peace, to others–to help others to fill in their valleys, and make their rough paths smoother. Even a word of affirmation and encouragement can work wonders and a cheerful disposition can be a real witness of Christian joy.