Advent Prophets

Reflections and the readings at Mass during Advent have focused on the prophetic message of Isaiah, “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”   (Is 40:3)

And his words are echoed in the New Testament, centuries later: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Mk 1:2–3)

Isaiah prophesied to Israel, suffering under a corrupt monarchy that had turned away from God. He spoke of the love of God which would free people from this suffering. In the window, Isaiah stands upon a dead king. His lips have been purified by the burning coal, beneath the scroll bearing his name. A shoot bearing Jesus, the new King, has sprouted from the ruined monarchy. The Holy Spirit, over his right shoulder, speaks through Isaiah

John the Baptist is the New Testament figure associated with these words. He prophesied to a Jewish world, occupied by the Romans, a pagan culture. He called people to repentance for their sins in preparation for the coming of the Savior. John baptized people in the Jordan River. Jesus, Himself, came to be baptized, symbolized in the window by the Lamb of God, the Savior who would die that we might have New Life. The Holy Spirit over John’s head is speaking through him.

Every Advent we are encouraged to “prepare the way of the Lord” in our own hearts and lives. We ask ourselves, what needs to change within us so that we can welcome the Savior? How will we recognize Jesus when He breaks into our lives? How can we share His love with everyone we meet? How can we make His paths straight in our own lives?