The Good News (Gospel) in the Gospel of Mark starts with a call to preparation found in the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist. I know I normally think of John as calling for preparation in the form of repentance and austerity. But, our readings for the Second Sunday of Advent remind us of another very important part of preparation:
We are told we to prepare for God, we must be heralds of the Good News. We need to shout it from every roof top, corner, and window we can find. And just what is that Good News? God has come to rule over us, but He comes to rule as a shepherd, strong and mighty, tender and loving. God is a God of justice, mercy, and love.
But as heralds of this Good News, we also have a very important task, we need to make the world ready for God. Isaiah tells us we do this by making straight what is crooked, by making tall mountains low, by smoothing over the rough places. When that happens we are told the glory of the Lord will be revealed.
How do we do that today, in 2017? The Prophet Isaiah tells us in the opening of the Sunday reading: we are to give comfort to God's people. We comfort people in spiritual ways by praying for them but we are also called to provide for peoples' physical comfort, by providing food, warm clothes, shelter, and even toys for Christmas.
We are heralds of the Good News, and the Good News is that we are all chosen children of God with worth and dignity. We shout the Good News with our actions as well as our words, and we do that by providing comfort, both in the words of the promise made in Isaiah, and in acting to bring it about.
Rebecca Spellacy is the Associate Director for Liturgy in the Office of Formation for Discipleship.