“I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek” – Malachi 3:1-2

Today’s readings speak of two of the greatest prophetic voices in scripture, Elijah and John the Baptist. Both were called by God to prepare the hearts and minds of their people to see and feel in a new way. During Advent, I am often reminded (sometimes told) to slow down, to be still and to prepare “myself” for the coming of the Christ Child. Yet the readings today remind me that while these attitudes are all well and good for me to embrace during Advent, I should not forget that I am also called to be a prophet of the Word to prepare the path for the coming of the Christ into our world and our lives. When I think of who has exemplified a selfless life of preparing others to receive Christ, my thoughts are drawn to my mother.

My mom gave birth to twelve children and because of my father’s’ work, she became the main caretaker for my siblings and me. While she graduated at the top of her class in nursing school, she sacrificed her career so she could take care of us. Mom poured out her life for us and her days were consumed with everything it takes to nurture her children into becoming good, healthy, and loving adults. We would wake up to a warm breakfast, lunches packed for school, and at the end of the day a wonderful dinner. I still remember the weary look on her face after a long day as she would say “sweet dreams” before sending us to bed. Like Elijah and John, mom prepared the way for a wonderful life by her sacrificial love. At a deeper level, what she had been doing was preparing us to receive the Christ of love, gentleness, and mercy.

Every day my brothers and sisters reflect my mom’s selfless compassion and love as they pass these values to their families and to all they encounter in life. While my mom was serving our needs and preparing us for life, she was teaching us to do the same. I believe we are all called in our various vocations to lay the path for Christ to enter our world through how we love and serve one another.

Loving God, may we take time today to remember the people in our lives who, like Elijah and John the Baptist, humbled themselves to help us grow in love and understanding of You through their sacrificial love. May we embrace the gift they have given us and in turn give this gift to all those in need. Amen.

Ben Kresse

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