Today marks the Second Sunday of Advent. This 4 week season has been given to us by the Church in order to help us prepare for the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas). Whenever the Church celebrates a great feast it prepares with a time of fasting. Most people don't think of Advent as a time of fasting. While it isn't nearly as intense as Lent, it still is intended as a time of penance.
When we speak of the coming of the Lord it is intended in three senses. First we are preparing for the coming of the Lord into the world at Christmas. Second, we are anticipating that some day our Lord will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead. We use Advent as a time to focus our attention on being prepared for that time. Third, we are preparing for the Lord coming to us each day in new and deeper ways.
This week we focus on the ministry of St. John the Baptist. He is sent to prepare the way of the Lord. He does so by calling us to repentance. In his words, we are to make very crooked way straight, fill in every valley, and level every hill as a way of making a highway for our God. We are called to a thorough and intense scrutiny. Ideally, we do this daily. But sometimes it gets away from us. Advent offers us the opportunity to ensure that things are right between God and ourselves.
I invite you to a most holy and blessed Advent! Go deep and root out all that is opposed to God. Seek Him and the abundance of the Grace He offers. Prepare for his coming: today, at Christmas, and in the end when He returns.