For January 2 in the Christmas Season
Although we are still in the season of commemorating the birth of Christ, we already turn with the Gospel to witness the beginnings of the public mission of the Lord as a full-grown man.
Today— as we did during the season of Advent— we again see John the Baptist straightening the way for Christ’s public work to begin.
John called the people to conversion— he called them to PUBLIC conversion— a conversion made public by a form of baptism.
Though honesty in one’s conversion demanded personal sincerity, the conversion John invited was no private matter.
John held people publicly accountable for their sins.
He wanted people to be seen converting publicly, to be held publicly accountable for their conversions— their abandonment of sin and their turning back to God.
A flat, straight, desert road for Christ cannot be hidden, because all the low spots have been filled in, and all the hills have been flattened for that road.
The “high visibility” of preparing oneself for Christ to come is part of the prophecy of Isaiah that John recalls.
As we travel through the daily Mass through another year with the Lord, will our lives look like a flat and straight thoroughfare on which Christ can rush in?
As we dare to receive him in his Eucharist today, will we make the road any smoother for him, or will we carelessly ignore the potholes of our ongoing lack of virtue and the bumps of our enduring habits of sin?
John the Baptist knew well that Christ did not deserve any such neglect from those who expected to have him in their lives.
the one who is coming after me…
[his] sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.
We are never worthy of the one who is coming to us in his Eucharist.
Since he comes nonetheless, let us live in constant preparation and conversion.