In our first reading today, God tells us to be comforted - have no anxiety - be at peace. God is sending a redeemer, a savior, who will forgive all of our sins and take away all of our guilt.
Whatever sins we have committed are forgiven. God promises that he will take us from a wasteland, a desert with no life, to a rich and abundant life in which he gives us love. The power of God is the power to love. He leads us not by force, but by gently guiding us to life. God is like a Shepherd one who continues to care for us, and make sure that our needs are met. God carries us and leads us with care.
A life without Jesus is like death in the wasteland. It is like living in a desert, with nothing to sustain us, with no one to protect us. God patiently waits for us, for our own good, so that at some point in our life we might find Jesus. In this Advent season, we are seeking an abundant life with Jesus. We are not only waiting for Jesus to be born, we are anticipating our own rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and in our minds. Jesus asks us to be eager to work within the church, to make Jesus our number one priority, to make Jesus the focus of Our Lives. Once we do that then everything else falls into place.
John the Baptist cries out, get ready Jesus is coming. It is time for us to wake up, and to receive the forgiveness of sins, set aside our past offenses, and to look forward to a bright future in the arms of God.
God says that he will take away our guilt. He will expiate, or erase, our guilt. It is difficult to live with guilt. Guilt can often be the burden of thinking that everything we do is wrong. We can wonder whether we have done anything right. We question ourselves. we may be living with something in our hearts that we cannot seem to get rid of. We have heard within the news in the past weeks, how people are coming forward and admitting their sins- what they have said, and what they have done. It is a time of Grace, in which God is revealing our hearts. It is a time for repentance and repentance means to turn our life toward God. Jesus is always willing to forgive.
Our second reading says that God waits patiently for us to repent, and to turn to God- to be rid of the bitterness, and even hatred, that can haunt our lives.
If we are sure that Christ is forgiving, then we can live in the Peace of knowing that God always allows us to start over. God forgets the past, and the thousand moments before our repentance become like one moment of a new life.
Perhaps there have been many John the Baptists in our lives - people who have come to us, to ask us to start the new life. Maybe it was our parents, or our brothers and sisters, our husbands or wives, or our friends. God is often sending messengers to us telling us that it's time to walk a straight path to the Lord.
Jesus Christ forgives us our sins, now is the time to receive it. If we choose to delay, God does not withdraw his love. His invitation, his call to us, is always open. God is calling us out of the desert of despair, to a life of hope and happiness.
God waits patiently for our answer.