Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Fourth Sunday of Advent—21 December AD 2014

John the Baptist, Titian, 1540
John the Baptist, Titian, 1540

Ordinary of the Mass in Latin and English

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dominica Quarta Adventus

The Vigil of Christmas should be observed with Fast and abstinence one day before Christmas
there is no Fast or Abstinence during the Christmas Octave.

Please let Father have your specific Mass intentions for coming year AD 2015
at your earliest convenience.

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low:
the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”[1]

    In today's Gospel, Saint Luke sounds as though he is giving instructions for the welcoming of a king. The roadways of the kingdom are to be leveled,, smoothed, and straightened so that the king will feel as little inconvenience as possible. The king's chariot must not bump or sway, and the journey must conclude as quickly as possible.

    In fact Saint Luke is quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaias.[2]  And Isaias is predicting the coming of one who will restore Jerusalem to holiness and grant remission of her sins.  In retrospect it is easy to see that he was speaking of the Christ.  Indeed, the Christian can see a great deal that points to Jesus Christ in Isaias’ writing.  This became obvious to us when we heard Isaias speak in the readings of the ember days this past week.  (We will see it again during Lent.)

    It is important to recognize that these words are directed to us, just as much as to the people of Jerusalem and Judea.  They are directed to men and women of every time and place.  Jesus Christ was born and died for the redemption of all mankind.  I say “redemption” rather than “salvation,” for not everyone will be saved.

    To ensure our salvation we must pay attention to John the Baptist's teaching.  We are to prepare for salvation by doing penance for the remission of sins.  This penance is what John meant when he spoke of making the path straight for the coming of the Lord.

    We are to prepare the way of the Lord into our souls.  The valleys of the spiritual life must be filled in:  our lukewarmness, our laziness, our fear must all be filled in and covered over by elevating our hearts and minds to God.  The mountains of our pride, and greed, and lust, and dishonesty must be brought low with humility, and generosity, and continence, and reverence for the truth.  The roughness of our souls, anger, impatience, and desire for vengeance must be ground down with calm, and peace, and patience, and forgiveness.

    And, not only must we prepare the way of the Lord in our own souls—we must also prepare His way in our families and in the society in which we live.  Men and women are “social beings.”  That means that God created us such that interact with one another.  What one person could never achieve in this life, can often be accomplished by people working together.  No man, working by himself, could ever build a skyscraper or a suspension bridge.  No woman, by herself, could be a symphony orchestra.  But, working together, men and women do build things like churches and hospitals, they feed the poor and shelter the homeless, they organize to bring immorality and corruption under control. 

    I am not talking about “big government”—for that is often oppressive and impossible to keep under proper restraint.  I am talking about voluntary associations of people to do what is good for all concerned.  Ideally, are talking about motivating people to do the good things suggested by the Catholic Faith—at a minimum we are talking about motivating our family, friends, and neighbors to do the good that is mandated by the Natural Moral Law.  Ideally, we want to live in a society where the spiritual and corporal works of mercy come naturally to all of its members.

    Time has now grown short.  Christmas will be upon us in just a few days.  Perhaps it makes sense for us to concentrate on our own personal preparation during those days.  Perhaps our number one new year’s resolution could be to work on “making straight the way of the Lord” in the world around us.


“The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain:
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”



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