Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

To Prepare the Way for the Lord: Second Sunday of Advent Year B

Sunday Breakfast with the Word


Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11, Peter 3:8-14, Mark 1:1-8





To prepare literally means to get things ready or to put things together because of something that is going to happen. To prepare indicates that there is a future event that is going to happen. Hence because of that, we try to get things ready for that event or get ourselves ready. So literally it means to make the necessary preparations for the coming of something. At Advent, the Church hence prepares for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming to dwell in our midst. So the readings of today tell us why we have to prepare, how we are going to prepare and the things we are going to do to ensure we fully prepare for this glorious event awaiting us.


The Reason We have to Prepare   


There must be a reason for every preparation. No one just wakes up and tells you to prepare for nothing. The church is not just telling us to make good use of this time for the sake of saying it, the reason is that this time is a precious moment for all.


1.The first reading which comes from Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 was said to be written as a result of the exilic experiences of the Israelites in the land of Babylon. It was a tough experience for the people and many thought God has abandoned them because of the excessive suffering of the time. As the reading of last Sunday said, they were like people abandoned. So verse 1-2 of this chapter is like a Divine council where God calls a meeting and sends a messenger to console His people again and speak to their hearts.


God sends His messenger to comfort them at the moment of grief, that the period of their service has ended. They should cry no more because the atonement of their sins is assured. It will be a time of renewal, a period of revival and moments of hope. So the coming of the Messiah signifies the reflection of this time.


It is a time God remembers His people again, and hence comes to forgive them and show them His mercy. In the reading, Isaiah says He will come like a shepherd to gather his flock again. It is a time of grace for all of us. In the gospel, one of the themes of John’s preaching is forgiveness of sins. Thus at this time, the Lord has come to show His mercy upon us. It is hence the time to approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace (Hebrews 4;16).


2. In the Second reading of 2nd Peter 3:8-14, Peter says that God is not slow in His promises as many think but because He does not want anyone to be lost. To understand this reading we have to read from verse 1 of this chapter.  Verse 4 makes it clear that this is in response to many who thought at that time that God’s promises of the second coming is a myth. So the writer tells them that the sole reason for the seeming delay is God’s mercy. He does not want any single person to be lost.

So at the season of Advent, the church is telling us to prepare because God does not want to lose us. He needs you and me. He provides this opportunity so that we can use it and remain close to Him. The reading says He wants all of us to be brought to repentance.


3. Another reason is that we do not actually know the hour and the time when the Lord’s glorious coming will happen. This is specifically in reference to the parousia. The last day or the day of the Lord’s coming will surely take us unawares.

Peter says in the second reading that the day will surely come like a thief. Nobody knows what can happen in the next second. We only live by His grace. Even those who have died once thought like we do that they will stay for more than ten years coming, but death took them unawares. So this is why we have to get ready from time to time, preparing our lives for the better.


4.We have to prepare because what is in the future is greater than what is now. From the second reading, there is something newer and better awaiting all of us. So we have to get ready, waiting for the advent of the new heaven and the new earth, where uprightness and goodness will reign forever and ever.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what the Lord prepared for those who love Him. God wants us to be part of this glorious banquet. We are then to decide whether to be part of it or not to be part of it.


How to Prepare


The way we prepare to take exams is not the same way we prepare for a wedding event. The way we prepare to make a long trip is not the same way we prepare for daily and Sunday masses. Each event has its mode of preparation. Hence in the readings of today, we can glean how better we are going to prepare for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts, at Christmas and His glorious coming.


1. Blameless life


 While talking about the second coming, the second reading says that the best way to await the coming of Jesus is to live a blameless and unsullied life. Unsullied means something that is not soiled. It refers to something that is spotless. This is when we do not want to stain our lives with sin and immorality. Hence it is when we are at peace with our God. This is why we have to use this moment and confess our sins and go back to God again.


2. Level the Valleys and the Mountains


Valleys are sometimes seen as a place of difficulties, obstacles etc such as in the times of war. Joshua’s conquest against the Amorites when the sun stands still takes place in the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10), In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites camped at the valley of Ellah when they faced the Philistines. So to fill the valleys here indicates to level every act of dissension and discord among the people. It also involves removing every obstacle that will prevent the people from encountering the glory of the Lord. Hence to remove and fill every space that takes the position of God in our lives.


Hence to prepare we have to clear our paths and level our valleys and mountains and remove every form of hatred, wickedness, family discord, anger, internal and external battles. Valleys also indicate a moment of we may have lost hope. David says in Psalm 23;4, say ‘even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil’. At the valley of Elah, the Israelites lost hope and God sent David to the rescue. So this is time to fill our moments of hopelessness and live in expectation of the Lord’s coming. This is the time to remove every form of faithlessness, prayerlessness and selfishness and live in faith and love of one another. To do this then is to prepare for the reflection of God’s glory.

3. Living Instruments


In the gospel. Mark introduces the ministry of John the baptist. He cites the first reading from the book of Isaiah as the source of His message. The passage also refers to a voice calling in the desert to make the paths for God. John is the instrument God uses to urge the people and bring them to repentance and make way for the Lord.


Like John, we have to be an instrument of God and not an instrument of the world. We have to make ourselves available to be used by God to touch lives, not an instrument used by human beings to perpetuate their selfish desires. Hence we are not instruments to perpetuate lies, crime and evil to the world.  We are not instruments of suffering and frustration to the masses or instruments the devil uses to make people sin or lose faith in God but Like John, we have to be a living instrument of change.


3. Be A Messenger


John was the messenger sent by God to go ahead of the Lord and make a way for Him. He is a messenger of repentance, forgiveness, revival, and renewal. He was the lone voice in the midst of unfaithfulness calling people back to God. Hence we have to do the same. We have to be messengers of love, peace, positive change. In the midst of fear, moral decadence,  faithlessness etc, we have to be the lone voice that can bring change to the people. Hence the question today is “whose messenger are you? And which particular message do you give to the world?


4. We need a Desert Experience


John was seen as the last Old Testament prophet signalling a turning point in God’s relationship with mankind. John was in the desert preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and people came to Him. A desert is a dry place uninhabited by anyone. It signifies a withdrawal from the world. To prepare we need a desert experience.

The people have to go to the desert to be baptised by John. To experience a total change and renewal we need a desert experience. To experience our own baptism we need to withdraw from every distraction. This hence indicates a total withdrawal from the world to make a u-turn. The first reading says that we make the way of the Lord in the desert. It is hence a life of total encounter with God and withdrawal from anything or anybody that will distract our attention from God.




1. John’s baptism was to lead the people to repentance. First, there is an invitation that the messiah is coming. So the baptism is an event that signals the sign of preparation for the coming Messiah which shows how repentant the people are. We can see this in Mathew 3 when John calls the people to repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand.


So Advent season is a season that calls us to repentance. Repentance in the greek understanding means “metanoia” which means to turn around. In this season the Church is calling us to turn around, we have wandered so away from God. To prepare the way for the Lord is a call to turn from wickedness to goodness, from unforgiveness to a forgiving spirit, from jealousy, envy, hatred to love and benevolence, from sin to righteousness, from immorality to decency, from disunity to peace. It is an invitation to encounter God again after years of deserting Him. Etc.



2. The gospel of today gives something positive about the people who heard John’s message. There was a positive response. They have to go even to the desert to listen to Him. They responded positively to His message. Now the question for us is “how are we also going to respond to this message? Should we continue to fight ourselves and live in peace or not? Should we continue to whirl away in sin and believe that we have so much time to live in the world? When are we going to come back to God? How are we going to prepare? Hence to prepare the way for the Lord is to respond positively to this invitation.


3. We can see in the people, a hunger for the word of God. The people confessed their sins and hence were baptised by John. In the same vein, the word of God we hear every day should lead us to repentance, change our ways, confess our sins and thus lead us back to God. To prepare the way for the Lord, there should be this hunger to listen for His word. We hear to apply. We do not heart to continue from where we stopped.


4. Finally John preaches forgiveness of sins and forgiveness in the Hebrew word is aphesin which indicates cancellation of an obligation or barrier of guilt. It refers to God’s love where our sins are cancelled. So the message is that when we hear the word of God and turn around from our evil ways, the resultant effect is that God will cancel our debts and fill us with His grace. This is an opportunity offered to us by God freely. But the problem is how ready and prepared are we?


5. When we prepare, the first reading says there will be a revelation of His glory. We will see His glory and He will shine on us. John 1-5 while speaking about the Word that will become flesh and dwell among us, says, He is a light that no darkness can overcome. Revelation 22:5 says His light will shine on the people when He comes. They will need no sunlight or lamplight because He is going to shine on them. In essence, we become light to the world and to the people.


The Second reading says that goodness and uprightness will then be our home, there will be a new heaven and new earth and hence the gospel concludes that He is going to baptise us with the Holy Spirit. And Acts 1:8 says that when the Holy Spirit comes, we shall receive power and hence become living witnesses of the gospel. So the question remains, are we going to prepare? How ready are we to grab this glorious opportunity?


May God help us to prepare for the Lord and give us the grace to receive the unfading crown of glory at the end. May He be with you. Amen


Happy Sunday



  1. Frankline okoroama says

    God is able to do all things

  2. Caroline+Andende says

    Thank you fr I Am preparing please pray for us Amen

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.