Preparing the Way of the Lord

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).”

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