Lk 3: 1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

God can always make a way

Amid the Babylonian exile, the prophet Baruch in today’s first reading tells the people of Israel that as impossible as it may seem for them to get back home, God will make a way for them Bar 5: 1-9). He will lower mountains and fill up valleys. He will gather his dispersed people back together, and they will rejoice.

In the Gospel, we hear a similar promise from Luke. Despite the massive Roman Empire having conquered the Holy Land, John the Baptist announces that God will once again make a way. God will not allow all the noise of Rome to keep his salvation from being seen by “all flesh,” all people.

No matter how rough our lives may be at any particular moment, God can make a way. He can crush any obstacle and smooth any path. During this Advent, let us not lose trust in God’s ability to make a way for us in the wilderness.

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and member of the Central and Southern Province. He serves as interim executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans and as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Fall of 2022, Orbis Press will publish Chris’s new book on the history of the Catholic Church, slavery, and abolitionism. 

Prayer

Lord, make a way for me in the deserts of life so that I may see your salvation and rejoice. Amen.

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ