The call to repentance lies at the heart of the Advent season. Like the people in today’s readings, we, too, are called to a change of heart, as we long for a better world where injustice will cease.
Today’s First Reading is full of hope and consolation for a nation weary of suffering. God is seen by the prophet Isaiah both as a warrior who fights for his people, and as a shepherd who nourishes and guides them to rest.
The Psalm reveals God’s inner ways and intentions; he is a God of peace, mercy, faithfulness and justice, who longs to help us.One of the themes of Advent is that of looking forward to the second coming of Jesus. St Peter advises us to wait patiently. We are to live in a way worthy of our Christian calling; living lives that please God as we allow his peace to fill us. (Second Reading)
The Gospel underlines how radical John the Baptist was in his calling, just like the Old Testament prophets. His focus was on the need to repent, for people to change their world view and live accordingly. In this way, they will be more open to the teachings of Jesus, so that ‘the glory of the Lord shall be revealed’ (Isaiah 40: 5).
This week, we might ask for the grace of trust, and to receive the deep love of God into our hearts. God is offering us new life in Christ, empowering us to be his instruments for change in a world torn apart by self-serving actions and fear. Perhaps we can make this our prayer: ‘Lord, make us channels of your peace and justice. Amen.’