2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A
6-9 year olds
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
John the Baptist is a cousin of Jesus. He prepares the people of Israel for Jesus who is coming to speak about the Kingdom of God in a way no one had ever spoken before. In Advent, we hear about John the Baptist preparing the people when we are preparing to celebrate the feast of the light of God coming into the world.
John the Baptist tells the people to repent because the Kingdom of God has come near. "Repent" means to turn around. But if we turn around, will we see the Kingdom of God? Perhaps there is something in the way, blocking our sight?
We also hear, "Make his paths straight." If we are trying to get somewhere quickly, which path would we choose to take? A straight path, or a winding path? If a path is straight, how much more can we see?
I wonder, why is the path to the Kingdom of God not straight already? Why do we have to prepare the way of the Lord? If God wants to come near to us, why isn't the way already clear? Who is making the path to God winding or crooked?
I wonder if we are the ones who put things in the way of God? I wonder if, by our choices, we make the way to God not so very clear, not so very straight?
I notice that the people going out and listening to John the Baptist,
were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
When they hear John say, repent! turn around!, they go to him to have the waters of the Jordan River poured over their heads, to be washed clean, to make things right between themselves and God. They also confess their sins. That means they say out loud the things they have done that have made the way to God not straight. Because they want to straighten things out, they speak their sins, getting rid of them in the waters of the Jordan.
Most of us have already been baptized long ago. But we still make choices that make the way to God not so straight. In this time of Advent, to prepare the way of the Lord, many people choose to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation. "Reconciliation" means to make things right between God and us.
Some of you make be preparing for the sacrament for the very first time. Here is a video that may help you get ready:
Some of you may be returning to the sacrament of Reconciliation. This video may help you refresh your memory and to prepare:
If you are not yet ready to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, what can you do to make the way to God straight? One way, I think, is to listen to the Word of God. Perhaps you can ask someone to read the Bible with you this Advent. Talk about what you hear. When we do this, Jesus is with us, and he helps us make the way to him straight.