We meet our familiar Advent character, John the Baptist, in today’s Gospel. He is “a voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” The original source of those words is Isaiah, a prophet who reassured Jewish exiles that God would lead them back to the promised land. But there is a big IF: if they repented, if they changed their ways. Both Isaiah (our first reading) and Paul (second reading) are reassuring and full of hope. I have a friend named Gloria, and one of her favorite sayings is “We can do it!” Our Scriptures today are telling us “We can do it” — we can change our ways. But what ways do we need to change? Of course we can always tune up areas of our private spiritual lives. But Pope Francis also urges us to act together, think together, pray together. He urges us to put aside our skepticism, our indifference, our feelings that problems are too big for us to handle. We need to join with others to address today’s pressing issues. Global warming, racism, poverty and many other world problems cannot be solved unless many people from all the nations of our world join together. This solidarity of acting together for the good is an aspect of holiness or spirituality that many of us were not taught about when we were young. How am I being called to embrace it now?
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia