"Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight the path of the Lord" (Mk 1: 3). St Mark begins his gospel account with the insightful preaching of John the Baptist in the desert. Echoing the prophecy of Isaiah, John the Baptist reveals a clear and deep understanding of what the season of Advent is all about. It is a period of sincere preparation of a path through our hearts for Jesus to come in. Someone said about our Christian faith as a journey, not a destination. We are on a journey through the desert to the promised land. We can liken this preparation period to the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt to the promised land. We embark on this path of purification to prepare our mind, soul and body for Christ at Christmas and his second coming in glory at a time we do not know.
How do we "make straight the path of the Lord" as we "await new heavens and a new earth"(2 Pt 3:13)? The way, the path through the journey, is a life that anticipates the Coming of the Lord by constantly conducting ourselves "in holiness and devotion" (2 Pt 3: 11). The voice and the message of Advent preeminent preacher, John the Baptist is evident- a "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mk 1: 5; see Acts 3: 19-21). Repentance is an English word derived from the Greek "metanoia" which means a change of mind and heart, a new way of seeing that is interior and transformative. To straighten the path for Jesus to come into our hearts depends on a sincere examination of our lives and an honest confession of our sins. Repentance helps us prepare the way of the Lord. Making a U-turn in our life, from following our selfish will to embracing the will of God, should be our goal at this time of the liturgical year.
I provide opportunities for you to prepare for the coming of the Lord at Christmas and glory at the end of time. Prepare by attending our parish penance service scheduled for Friday, December 15, at 7 PM. You also have time between Sunday masses in Advent, 9:15- 10:15 AM, to go to confession. Of course, there are other penance service options in our Lancaster deanery. Look out for dates in the bulletin.
Let me make another pitch for our parish Advent mission to be led by the International Irish Tenor, Mark Forest, next Sunday at 7 PM. You want to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to aid the preparation of our hearts for Jesus' coming. Come with your family, and invite your friends. Let me take a quick look back at last Monday's parish monthly Eucharistic Adoration. It was a beautiful moment of silence and songs in worship of our Lord. We had a good attendance and we prayed well. The Forgven band and I plan to have a Night of Epiphany Eucharistic Adoration to mark the conclusion of the Christmas season. This one-of-a-kind joyful celebration is scheduled for Sunday, January 7, 2024. Please save the date in your calendar and look for more details on the event in subsequent bulletins.
Lastly, we look forward to Bishop Timothy Senior celebrating the 10:30 AM mass for us today. We are blessed to have our shepherd with us and eagerly await his Advent message for our parish.
Let the preparation for His coming continue in earnest.
With Hope and Peace,
Fr. Alayode Bernard Oniwe, OP