“A voice cries in the wilderness…” (Isaiah 40:3). This verse from our first reading this Sunday is quoted in Matthew 3:3 in reference to John the Baptist preparing the way of Jesus. We joke that, here in Ottawa, we have two seasons, winter and construction. (In truth, this now seems to have turned into just one season, construction!).
In Old Testament times, many an army built roads, often referred to as “the king’s highway” , which increased commerce (with accompanying income from taxes and road tolls) and enabled the army to patrol more rapidly in troubled areas. In Jesus’ time, the Roman armies were the experts, building roads connecting all parts of the empire. Think of our modern road system here in Canada. How many valleys have been bridged, how many mountains “leveled” with tunnels, how many narrow ways widened and rough ways made smooth?
We are called to be part of God’s road construction crew, preparing the way for others to draw near to God, and removing the obstacles preventing God drawing nearer to us.