The straight way
(Reflection by Donal Neary SJ)
Before the motorways a journey took ages, with twists and turns, corners and hills. Now much has been made straight.
John’s message was that we would live along a path where words and actions match, and where kindness matches convictions.
John the Baptist was a man on one mission – to be the messenger of the one he did not know. His life had a vision and a purpose, like when we are really committed to people or to causes or to the poor or to peace in the world. John was the man of desert food and desert dress; he took time out to find what the biggest thing in life was and then kept following it, often not knowing where it would go.
The human heart is complicated and we know that. We need that one who will touch our hearts with love and forgiveness and guide us himself in ways that are straight, and whose hand will guide us along straight paths when we need it.
God’s guiding is gentle. John found that Jesus was a gentler guide: no name-calling, no bringing the axe to the tree, but calling each of us his friend, and nourishing the tree rather than cutting it down.
Jesus would melt the snow to make a path, not hack at it and destroy in the process. Our hearts can be melted by the love of God and love of others.
Think of or remember a time when you made a decision to follow the way of Jesus. Offer this to him again.
Lord God, make our hearts like yours.