• Prepare for his coming!


    [2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C, December 6, 2015. / Bar 5:1-9 / Ps 126:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5, 6 / Phil 1:4-6, 8-11 / Luke 3:1-6]

    ONCE I was feeling a bit discouraged and sad as I could not work out what the Lord was asking from me. In a moment of prayer I was telling Jesus that I felt disheartened. The first line of the first reading of today helped me — “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever.” (Baruch 5:1). It was Jesus himself responding to my prayer, telling me to cheer up, to be patient “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ” as we say in every Mass. Sure enough after a few days things became much clearer and I felt enlightened.

    The psalmist today proclaims: “The Lord worked marvels for us, indeed we were glad” (Psalm 126). Something essential for every one of us is to recognize these little marvels that God works in our lives. What little marvels has the Lord worked in your life this week? Can you answer that question? Stop for a moment. Don’t be in such a rush. What wonders is God working in your life? Many people in our world of today are seeking only the big wonders. But if we fail to spot the obvious little wonders of every day do you really think we will spot the big ones? As G. K. Chesterton commented, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.”

    Will we be able to recognize with wonder and awe the coming of the Lord? Two thousand years ago he came but was rejected by many. John the evangelist reminds us, “He came among his own but his own did not welcome him” (John 1:11). Before, they did not recognize him as a little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, and still today, many times we do not recognize the Lord’s coming in the preaching of the word of God, in the smile of another, in a kind word. How much the world of today needs us to be like John the Baptist! Yes — to prepare the way of the Lord. In today’s gospel, from St Luke, we hear the prophet announcing: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Luke 3:1-6).

    This is the task of every Christian, to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. How can we do that? One young woman was sharing her experience in the office. A workmate was flirting with many men. She told the woman that she did not think it was right to play around with the feelings of others. At first the other woman just laughed but then the girl said “You are playing around because your heart is empty.” Later on the colleague thanked her for being so honest with her and came to realize that truly her heart was empty as she was lacking the love of Christ.

    Many Christians are growing in their sensitivity to the Word of God. The Word did not only come to John the Baptist but to many Christians who are trying to cultivate that loving friendship with Christ. Sometimes we doubt that our lives can really be of help to Jesus and his mission. Perhaps our lives are a little chaotic, maybe spiritually barren or deserted. Even we can feel that our life is a bit too wild. But the word comes to John when he is in the desert! When he is in the WILD-erness! The Word does not only come to those souls that are pure, holy and in order. Where did the Word choose to be born 2000 years ago? In a sterile and clean incubator of Jerusalem Maternity hospital where everything was under control and in good order? Or was it not in a cold, damp, dark manger, which was a bit smelly and full of wild animals? That encourages me so much! Lord, there is room in my heart for you. Please be born in the manger of my heart this Christmas!

    Let us make the most of this time of preparation. May we become more and more in love with our mission to prepare the way of the Lord in the life of many of our brothers and sisters. Let us ask for the intercession of St John the Baptist, that we too can be these voices in the wilderness helping prepare the way of the Lord in the life of many people. Amen.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. robert christian on

      I think Mariano is correct. Why? I was pondering on that word, ‘EMMANUEL’ which means, “God within us”. If He is within us in our hearts already, that means He does not need to come anymore. He is already residing inside our body. If I ask you the question: “Where is God?” Most people would say, “He is in Heaven.” But then most priests and preachers say at the pulpit that word Emmanuel=God within us.
      What do you think?

    2. Anima A. Agrava on

      Thanks, Fr. James. Praying for your priestly fidelity and that of your cpmpanions in FMVD.
      God bless you and continue writing good homilies.

    3. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      05 December 2015

      In this Commentary of his in The Manila Times of 05 December, Fr. James McTavish exhorts the people “to prepare for his coming”–meaning the long awaited Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

      Let me just remind him that for some 2,000 years now Christians all over the world have been looking up at the sky, especially on dark nights, for any sign of a Jesus Christ finally fulfilling his promise of a Second Coming by which time he would usher in his Millennial Kingdom of “paradise on earth.”

      For 2,000 years they have all been disappointed and disenchanted and have reached that point where they have come to the painful realization that there will be no Second Coming at all till 5 billion years from now our Sun will exhaust all of its store of Hydrogen and Helium, turn into a Black Hole, and devour everything that at the time orbits it.

      This belated exhortation of Fr. James McTavish must fall on deaf ears–more likely that not.


      • Your comment Mr. Patalinjug proves of your need to wait for Christ to come into your heart. Christ was not born in “sterile and clean incubator of Jesrusalem maternity hospital” the good priest reminded; but in a place “cold, damp manger, which is a bit smelly and full of animals.” Christ is born not in artificial environment, but in the natural. Prepare your heart then in the same environment. Then you will come to appreciate the wonder and humility of God.