The Road to the Desert

Reading I: Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

It’s Advent Season once again, the beginning of a new liturgical year. The Christmas rush is officially on, especially after Thanksgiving Day with Black Friday mad and frenetic day. All roads seem to lead to the malls and entertainment places once again. When we tread the road to the malls, the only God we will most likely encounter there is the God of commercialism, the God of want and invented needs. But while all the ads point to the mall roads and shopping areas, the Advent Season points us to a different road, the road to the desert.
On this Advent Season, we turn our collective gaze once more to the figures of John the Baptist, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, who all points us to this road less travelled. The Church once more points our attention to the Incarnate One who will say to us, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” In Scripture, the desert has always been a road to purification, of purgation, of being stripped down to the bare essentials. Israel was purified 40 years in the desert before reaching the Promised Land. Jeremiah encountered God in a trying time in the desert. Jesus spent 40 days preparing for the active ministry in the desert. Let us not then treat these days as simply preparation for the holidays. Let us make these days truly Holy days of anticipation and welcome and allow the joy that Christ gives in our lives. Encounter with the true God is only possible when we are purified, and stripped down to bare essentials because God is not a God of superficiality, shallowness and excess. He is the God of meaning, depth and simplicity.
Have a blessed Advent and a Holy Christmas!
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