In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear of John the Baptist calling those throughout the region to repentance, and the words of the prophet Isaiah to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” As we continue to prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas during this Advent season, we look for ways that we can prepare the way of the Lord in our own lives.
Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, stopped by Morning Air® recently to discuss the best way to prepare for Christ this Christmas. He pointed to today’s Gospel reading and the example of John the Baptist, saying, “John the Baptist is one of the primary Advent figures we are introduced to every year. Through his preaching and through his active engagement – especially leading the crowds to the experience of repentance – John is helping them to prepare to meet Jesus in their lives.”
“And John does that by not only having them open their lives and clear out the clutter – though that’s one of the reasons he goes to the desert, because the desert is a place of quiet, a place of silence. We don’t have the distractions of everyday life that dominate our attention. But John also then asks the people to remove those mountains that are standing in their way. The obstacles of sin, the practices of vice that make us deaf and blind to the presence of God when the Lord visits us.”
So how do we remove these mountains of sin that are keeping us from seeing Christ? The answer is found in the sacrament of Confession. Bishop Mueggenborg said, “In the experience of Confession we actually receive the sacramental grace to restore us in our relationship with God. That’s a very critical part of it. But we also experience that freedom and that healing that allows us to let go of those obstacles that are standing in our way. The mountains, that John speaks about, or the valleys that are so difficult to cross.”
Following the example of John the Baptist, we can prepare the way for Christ in our hearts and minds by frequenting the sacrament of Confession during the Advent season. Of the sacrament of mercy, Bishop Mueggenborg said, “That’s what allows us to experience the mercy of God, that interior healing, but ultimately, do you know what Confession does that is most important? It reminds us that we need God in our lives. We need a Savior. And it is very difficult for us to experience and receive Jesus as our Savior, until we know our need for a savior.”
“Confession is that moment of humility and honesty, where we as the creature before the Creator receive His mercy and love. Because we can’t accomplish that on our own. And we know that.”
Listen to the full reflection below: