Tuesday of the Second Week

Readings

Is 40:1-11
Ps 96:1-2, 3 and 10ac, 11-12, 13
Mt 18:12-14

Reflection

We often hear about what we can do to find God. How can we get God on our side? How can we understand God? What do we have to say? How do we have to act? As if getting to God is the end of the race.
 
In this week’s readings, the prophet Isaiah invites us to understand our God in a different way. He says “prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” This makes me think maybe it isn’t so much about us reaching yet another goal, but it is about God trying to find his way to us.
 
As a first-year teacher who is constantly trying to get ready for my students, I am very familiar with preparation. In fact, I probably over-prepare. I get to school extra early to make extra copies for extra lessons in case we have extra time. But in the end, after all my preparation, there are so many ways in which I can be surprised. We might have a fire drill, host a surprise guest, lose internet access, or all of the above. Although I was reluctant at first, I’ve learned to prepare to be surprised on a daily basis.
 
When Isaiah asks us to “prepare the way of the Lord,” I believe that he is talking about preparing for the unexpected—preparing to be surprised. I don’t believe that we should stop seeking God all together, but I think we are challenged to let God find us as well—let God surprise us. Let us straighten those highways and fill in those valleys to make space for God in our lives. I invite you to use this time of Advent to prepare for God to enter your life in a way that you may not expect.

-Elizabeth Stenger '16, 6th-8th grade Social Studies and Religion teacher, St. Leo the Great Elementary School (Oakland, CA)