Advent is a sacred time of longing and preparation for the Lord; a time for waking up to listen to the Spirit calling deep within us.

The words of Isaiah (First Reading) bring to this Sunday’s liturgy a cry of consolation for a people desperate for peace. As we make a straight path to welcome the Lord into our lives, he gathers us up into his arms like a shepherd tenderly holding his lambs.

Our world is thirsting for this peace now, the deep peace that only Christ can bring. The Psalm is a prayer that speaks to the longing and yearning that is within us all.

Christ is not slow to respond to our desire for this peace. Peter’s letter (Second Reading) to the early Christian community teaches that the Lord wants no one to be lost: he desires for all to be gathered unto himself. Since we do not know the time of the Lord’s return, our prayerful preparations will draw us nearer to the peace that he promises.

The Gospel of Mark that we follow throughout this coming year begins the revelation of the Good News with that same call of the prophet Isaiah that began our readings: ‘Prepare a way for the Lord’. John the Baptist, a voice crying in the wilderness, calls us to repentance and renewal. He baptises with water, but tells of the time when we will be made new by the Holy Spirit.

Let us continue our Advent journey together, praying for this same spirit of renewal and preparation. Let us pray too for peace in our hearts, in our communities and especially in the Holy Land.