“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

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A few evenings ago, I was reading the Roman historian Josephus…I know that he’s not exactly entertaining reading, but as a history buff, I think that it’s wonderful to read about ancient times. Josephus mentioned John the Baptizer, saying, “for Herod slew him who was a good man and commanded to Jews to exercise virtue, both to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God and so to come to baptism…”

The prophets mentioned in today’s readings are incredible people…John, who in an astounding moment, baptized Jesus; Isaiah, who talked about the coming of the Messiah – and the promises of Baruch, who spoke about children returning to God.

As parents, many of us have seen our children leave our church; Baruch says “…led away on foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back…” I like to see that as a personal promise. We brought our children to church for baptism and formation, and I believe that God will grant us the mercy of bringing them to our eternal home. Even when we don’t seem to be able to reach them. Isaiah speaks of the road home: the mountains brought low and the valleys filled. And that’s a very good image for us elders, who don’t always have the strength to climb over obstacles or find our way out of valleys. A smooth road is welcome as we age and prepare for our final homecoming. And what more can we say about John? He’s called “the Forerunner” in our Eastern traditions. Scripture speaks of him living in the desert and eating locusts and wild honey. But Josephus is the first writer I’ve found who simply called him a “good man.” That’s good enough for me.

During Advent, why don’t we all try to see how Scripture to our personal lives? You’ll find some wonderful surprises.

Blessings and peace to you all,
Dorothy Hathway, CSJA