“While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
‘This is the way; walk in it,’
when you would turn to the right or to the left.” - Isaiah 30:21
During this journey in Advent, it can be hard to keep sight of the road in front of us. There is so much to keep in mind as we are faced with such a short time to prepare ourselves for Christmas. It is made even more difficult this year as we are in the midst of the shortest Advent possible, we only have 22 days to make sure we are ready for the coming of our Savior. But because we only have 22 days to make sure we are spiritually ready for Christmas, it becomes all the more important that we are focused upon the road in front of us.
While on this road we will undoubtedly be distracted by many things that are going on around us. From getting ready for the arrival of our families (or travelling to them) to the shopping for presents, it can be easy to lose sight of our real goal. This real goal of course is receiving Christ into our world and allowing it to be a foretaste of our ultimate goal, reaching Heaven.
And yet, even with all of these distractions, we are meant to carry on. We are called to refocus ourselves every time the world around us distracts us. This is not to say that preparing for these other elements of Christmas is wrong, but rather that they must always remain secondary to our joyful anticipation of the Incarnation.
Along the way, today’s Gospel calls us to work in the fields of the Lord. We hear Jesus tell us,“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” and to, “go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” This call to labor for the Lord by our proclaiming of His coming is at the heart of the Christian mission and is the only way that we can help others to become ready for the coming of Christ as well. If we do this work faithfully, we will be ready for when He comes again.
This task of course can be unnerving as the distractions can wear us down and we may not even know how we are meant to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom. But as a great show of love and accompanying grace, today’s First Reading reminds us that we do not have to do this alone. The Lord will always be guiding us forward and telling us that, “This is the way; walk in it.” It is God’s guidance that we must learn to rely upon. It is God alone that knows perfectly the path that we are to trod. And He will gladly how us the path as long as we listen closely to where He guides us.
Let us pray,
Loving Father, we know that you are calling us to proclaim your Kingdom to the world. It is this action that allows us to prepare our hearts for you to enter into them. We ask you to send your Holy Spirit to guide us along the right paths and to give us the courage to do this work for you so that we might be ready for when Christ comes into the world once more. Amen.
This reflection was written by Kevin Effron
Kevin Effron is a first year Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame. He is working at Verso Ministries this year as his ministry placement for his M.Div. and is the proud creator and organizer of Prepare the Way. Kevin hopes that you find this retreat as spiritually fruitful to meditate upon as he did while helping to put it all together.