(Dec. 7, Second Sunday of Advent)
Cycle B. Readings:
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
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By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
Paul was 70 years old before he heard the voice crying out in the wilderness.
He had been a good Catholic his entire life, attending Mass regularly. He was a loving, dedicated husband and father and a successful business executive. Then, one night shortly into his retirement, Paul heard the voice crying out, first in a dream.
It was so real to him that he listened. But the idea of such a dream was so irrational and unfamiliar that he was embarrassed to recount it to anyone. However, the dream recurred — several times — and he felt compelled to tell his wife Chris.
“I dreamed I was building a school. In Guatemala!” he said incredulously (he’d never been to Guatemala). It seemed a little strange to her, too, to be talking about this dream. But it struck her as significant.
Then the two of them together heard the voice crying out, this time at church in the person of a visiting Haitian pastor. He wanted to build a school in a remote village in his country.
Recognizing the voice, the couple committed themselves to helping their parish fund construction of the school. A few months later Chris became terminally ill and her final, urgent wish was to ensure that the school would be built. They donated the amount needed.
After Chris’s death, Paul, fluent in French, and the Haitian pastor became close personal friends and Paul became deeply involved in the life and development of his Haitian community.
Peter’s words in this weekend’s readings tell us that God doesn’t mind that it took Paul 70 years to get to this place: “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day,” he says.
What happened was Paul and Chris made straight the paths of the Lord to enter the life of a Haitian village. Unexpectedly, but just as powerfully, the paths also led to the transformation of their own life with Jesus.
This story was foretold in Isaiah. “A voice cries out … the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all people shall see it together … here is his reward with him.”
Paul and Chris listened to the voice, opened the path and the Savior came.
What obstacles in your life might keep you from hearing God’s voice in an unexpected place? How can you clear the way for Christ to be present in your day-to-day living?