The Lord will bless His people with peace.
“Comfort give comfort to my people says your God.”
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.” (cf Isaiah 40)
In this Advent season, I am reading from the prophet Isaiah. He is speaking of the day when John the Baptist was to appear at the Jordan for the coming of the Lord.
John is not in Jerusalem in order to comfort the people. He is in the wilderness, in the desert, social distancing. The people did not come to see a luxurious hotel, they came to fast and pray to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord. John called out “repent and believe in the Gospel.”
During this Advent, I want to be in the desert. But I have been in a desert since last March. I will be here for a while. Help is on its way, but conditions are worsening. Since I will be in this desert during the time of preparation for the great Christmas Feast, I can use it in prayer and penance to repent and believe.
There are times when we come before God for forgiveness. Usually we get to pick the activities and words that we will use. But we do not get to choose the penances, we are in the Corona Desert. We resist. If we run away, we will not get to see what is in ourselves. But even if we grudgingly look at ourselves, we will encounter the original sin which is pride. ‘I’ is in the middle of pride. We want it our own way, we got our rights, we want our freedoms and religious liberties.
The sin of Adam and Eve was pride. By eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they assumed equality with God. They were cast from His presence. Jesus came to make his dwelling among us to free us from this sin and all our actual sins. John the Baptists baptism was only for actual sin.
Residue of the sin of Adam and Eve may accumulate. We do not recognize it. I think of other people of the cloth. Over the years some accumulate, power, adulation and/or wealth. They assume equality with God. It is like chicken pox coming out in later life as shingles. Or polio symptoms reappearing after decades.
May this advent season, as we are trapped in the Corona Desert, be a time of cleansing pride from our souls.