Preparing for Jesus like John the Baptist

On the second Sunday of Advent, we hear the preaching of St. John the Baptist as he calls the world to repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Now, I don’t know about you, but I for one would like to learn a little bit from the person about whom Jesus said, “among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” (Matthew 11:11)

Let me share two simple things we can do this week in imitation of the great St. John the Baptist.

Make straight his paths

You’ll have heard this in the Gospel on the Second Sunday of Advent…

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”

How exactly does one “make straight his paths”? Well, I think of it like this—if there is something in the way of my faith, something holding me back from growing closer to God, then it’s something I need to move out of my way so I’m not taking the long way around. Let’s get from point A to point B with the fewest detours, right?

It’s your job this Advent season to meditate on what things are roadblocks in your spiritual life. It could be a habitual sin, maybe it’s a lack of forgiveness or something you’ve made into a false god. Whatever it might be, do exactly like John the Baptist proclaimed over two thousand years ago and get it out of your way! Clear the path for Christ to enter your heart this Christmas. Hint: an examination of conscience and a good Confession are a really great place to start!

Leap for joy

Now let’s rewind a bit from grown-up John preparing the way of the Lord. For this, we’ll go way back to the Visitation. Remember when the Mother of God went to visit her cousin Elizabeth? Here’s what Elizabeth said to Mary:

“For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1:44)

Now, this is truly amazing. A baby in the womb recognized his proximity to the Savior and leapt for joy.

When is the last time you leapt for joy before the Lord?

You might be thinking… but the pregnant Blessed Mother hasn’t shown up at my doorstep recently. True, but how often are we in the very real presence of Christ at Mass or in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? Have you become complacent about your faith and the sacraments, or do you strive to see them for the miracle that they are? This Advent, let’s leap for joy in Jesus’ presence.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

hands holing a white heart-shaped paper over the Bible
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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.