Advent is a time of penitence and conversion, but one characterized by Messianic hope: our penance and conversion are about to experience a boost and a means to bear fruit in the birth of Our Lord at Christmas. As St. Paul describes it in today’s Second Reading: “the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Our Lord enables us to definitively leave our sinful past and ways behind, and that is a cause for joyful hope.
As Baruch in today’s First Reading exhorts the Israelites to get ready to change from their garments of penance to those of joy, we know that soon the sorrowful purple vestments and the embargo on the “Glory Be” in Mass,will give way to the white vestments of our Sunday best and the Glory of the birth of Our Lord. In the Gospel today the Holy Spirit mobilizes St. John the Baptist to get the people of Israel ready: Advent gets us ready. Not only do we reach out to God; in the Incarnation God also reaches out to us. Through penance and striving for conversion we’re reaching out to God so that he can reach out to us; we can try to take his hand to help us up, or we can avoid it. The choice is ours.
Conversion and salvation are within reach. Let’s prepare a good path for Our Lord.
Readings: Baruch 5:1–9; Psalm 126:1–6; Philippians 1:4–6, 8–11; Gospel Luke 3:1–6.