With Advent, we are starting a new liturgical year. The liturgical year is at the core of our lives as Catholics, because our ability to mark time in any way is part of God’s love and God’s gift.
I remember as a young seminarian going to see the musical Godspell, and being mesmerized by the beautiful themes and the wonderful message that was put in a very modern and realistic way. I remember that clarion call of John the Baptist, "Prepare the way of the Lord."
This is the message of Advent. It is a time of preparation, a time to prepare the way of the Lord even as we await the Lord.
But a very dear friend of mine, Father Gene Konkel, SS, always used to ask, "Who is waiting for whom?"
We are certainly, on a very real level, waiting for the Lord at Christmas, but really it’s God who waits for us. The way that we prepare is our lives. We look forward to accepting God in our lives, so Advent is a time of preparation, to prepare our souls, our hearts and our lives to receive Christ at Christmas.
Advent is a time to ask ourselves what are the crooked ways in our lives. Each of us might ask: What are the crooked ways on which I sometimes get lost, or I take a detour? What are the crooked ways that need to be made straight in my life? What are those mountains that are blocking my spiritual path? What are the obstacles to finding Christ more fully in my life? What are the obstacles to me leading a more faith-filled life, a more trusting life?
Advent is a time for us to consider these questions of how each of us, in our own way, can prepare to receive Christ at Christmas. So, yes, prepare the way of the Lord. We are awaiting Christ this Christmas, and so beautifully he is waiting for us.
Yours in Christ,+ The Most Rev. John C. WesterBishop of Salt Lake City