The winding road. My heart is filled with gratefulness as I caught up with my university friends over the weekend as we were interns in the same department together. The best thing was that everyone could make it. We shared the good times that we had as one department and I am glad that I am not alone as we faced similar struggles in adapting to the work-life daily grind. Perhaps, the best is to take one moment at a time to get through each day. I just need to keep repeating “I will be okay” over and over again.
The gospel begins by saying,“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: 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.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed:”One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:1-8).”
This advent season, we are called to straighten the roads in our lives which have grown wild and overgrown with emotional baggage and sin. It is a time of forgiveness and repentance. The thought of it might sound easy, but the action that comes after is actually harder to achieve. Feelings are hurt, grudges are taken into consideration and relationships are broken.
Rather, we are tasked to prepare for the coming of Jesus who will live among us by doing some spring cleaning of our hearts and lives. We need to acknowledge our sins through the sacrament of reconciliation and to go to the Lord in prayer as he knows the heavy baggages we carry within us.
To dispel the darkness in our hearts, it is important to continue lighting small candles of love and light because only love can combat anything. It is difficult to love sometimes, but if we light these small candles of love by taking the first step, it will make the world a little brighter, a little more understanding and compassionate.
Through our daily struggles and challenges, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit who gives us the courage and wisdom to choose love over hate and I have learnt to lean on God’s providence because sometimes I know I am weary and need the Spirit to guide me through the rest of it all.
As we reach the end of another year, let us continue to reflect on the love of God whose love is always patient, kind and he never gives up on us. He brings us to restful waters where he gives us rest and the strength to pass the light to others who might be still living in darkness. Together, we can be beacons of light to one another in the things we do.
May we continue to keep each other in prayer and pray that we can grow closer to God as we are accountable to him and to lead a more prayerful life, especially during times of challenges that we do not grow distant from him. Amen. God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong