Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ,
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight” (Mk 1:3).
This is the invitation that God addresses to us through John the Baptist on this Second Sunday of Advent.
How do we “prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight?” For this we need to do two things:
- Do Good, engage in virtuous actions.
In what does repentance consist? I would like to mention six steps of repentance.
- Become aware of your sins. Sometimes we fail to recognize the sins or sinful tendencies in our life. Then we are like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son. The elder brother thought that he was good, but in reality his heart was filled with the sins of self-righteousness, legalism, bitterness, insensitivity and unforgiveness. In the first letter of John, chapter one, verse 8 we are told: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). If you find it difficult to recognize the sins in your life pray to God using the words of Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.”
- Name your sins and renounce them: We have very little control over what is unknown or unnamed. When we name something we have better control over it. So name your sins and renounce them, one by one. I renounce legalism, I renounce self-righteousness, I renounce bitterness, I renounce pornography.
- Renounce Satan and his works: In Jn 8:44 Jesus tells us that Satan is the father of lies. And Pope Francis reminds that it is not old-fashioned to speak about the devil, for he is very much present in the 21st So, as we do at the renewal of our baptismal promises say, “I renounce Satan and all his works.”
- Express sorrow for your sins: Tell Jesus that you are sorry for your sins and ask him to forgive you.
- Confess your sins and request Jesus to set you free: Jesus died in order to liberate you from your sins. So, confess your sins and request him to free you from your sins.
- Express gratitude: Thank Jesus for forgiving your sins and setting you free.
The second thing to do in order to “prepare the way of the Lord is to “engage in virtuous actions,” “to do good deeds.” Among the many virtuous actions or good deeds that we could do, I would like to mention four.
- Reading the Word of God – Make it a habit to read the Bible daily and consider it as God speaking to you.
- Prayer – Apart from the daily prayers, try to fill the day with prayer through short invocations or ejaculations.
- Spiritual works of mercy: comforting the sorrowful, praying for the living and the dead.
- Corporal works of mercy: visiting the sick, giving alms to the poor
Let us conclude by praying: “Lord Jesus, help me to repent and do good, and thus prepare myself for your coming into my life. Amen.”
May you have a fruitful advent.