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Advent 2

In this time of fax machines, emails, and social networking, who needs a messenger? Do we still need these delivery men and women who walk or ride bicycles and motorbikes as part of their jobs? I was surprised that in a tv show, it was revealed that a great many offices still employ messengers.

Aside from the personal touch that comes with a human being knocking on your door, the messenger is also one of the most reliable means of getting to a client or business partner since he defies traffic, delivers and collects on time and achieves instant feedback from customers.

In the business world, a messenger delivers packages or letters. But in the Bible, a messenger does more than deliver. St. John the Baptist in this Advent gospel according to Mark, states that his mission is to prepare the road. His role is more than just to announce. His role is to ensure that the recipient is ready for an encounter with the One who sends the message.

Our lives are full of messengers. The messenger may indeed be a person. There are persons around us who challenge us to correct our faults and embark on personal reform. Good parents, concerned teachers, loving spouses, neighbors and friends who truly care can be that messenger God sends to inspire us to a life of renewal and change.

But do we always listen to them? Pride obstructs our positive response to the messengers of God in our lives. Many times we waste the chance to live better lives because we drown the message of people who care about us, because we are too familiar with them or because we fail to appreciate their worth. Sadly most of us realize the chance we missed when our messengers are no longer with us. Is this Advent a moment to reconsider how we treat these people?

Sometimes, the messenger is not a person but an event. There are occasions in our lives that point to the clear lessons God wishes us to learn. If we are sensitive, sickness, embarrassment, persecution, promotion, good fortune and other significant moments are God’s ways of inviting us to look deeply into our hearts and of setting things right with God or with people around us.

Recently, a friend sent me a text message saying that the doctors discovered that he has cancer. He is afraid because of the pain and of the cost the sickness entails. I assured him I was praying for him. But I also reminded him to try to discover what God is trying to tell him. Since he is a very godly man, I told him that God is preparing him for a deeper experience of trust and faith. In his response, he affirmed that yes, he saw God’s hand behind this new challenge in his life. Is there such an experience in your life where God also speaks?

Because God loves us, he never fails to send messenger in our lives. Let us take a look at the people and events that awaken in us the chance to live more upright and holy lives. Each one has a John the Baptist who helps us to prepare our lives for the coming of the Lord.