St. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord, as we are all reminded to do during this Advent season. John was the voice crying out in the desert. A man who lived and breathed the mission he was given by God. In the Gospel of Mark, he is described as “…clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6).” John may appear as one to avoid by his physical appearance, smelling of camel and desert living…and yet he drew crowds who desired to listen to him preach and to be baptized. What did John have that would draw a crowd from their comfortable living and working quarters to go out to a desert? No enticing doughnuts, coffee, comfy chairs, or trendy music would welcome them when they arrived. John had no bulletin board to advertise himself or social media account to reach people. I doubt he was wearing the latest fashion or portrayed anything of the typical image of a successful man of his time. So what about John and his message were so riveting? Especially a message like telling them to repent for their sins. Wow…to discuss sin is just begging for conflict, isn’t it? St. John did not let the people of Judea be content in their current sinful state, but urged them to desire more and invited them to a deeper relationship with the Lord and Savior to come. And the people, hungry for this deeper relationship with God, came. “People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins (Mark 1:5).”
As I was walking around the Jesuit Spiritual Center the other day, I took notice of the trees on the property in a more profound way. I always loved the trees the Good Lord fastened here. We have wide, tall trees with deep, healthy roots. It is truly a marvel that such a small seed grows into something so magnificent and expansive.
These past several months, the Rock House has experienced some big changes to morph into what it is to become for a new chapter in its history. This process happened through various individuals working together: gathering paper-work, making phones calls, collaborating in meetings, and praying for the Lord’s Will to be done. Mounting new windows, painting the siding and walls, installing updated air-conditioning units, putting in light fixtures, and fixing anything in disrepair. Cleaning fireplaces, organizing kitchen tools, weeding and mulching the garden, dusting blinds and book shelves, polishing furniture, washing dishes, mopping floors, and finally, adding the touches that make a large house feel more like a welcoming home.