Think of the different cries we hear in the wilderness: the cry of the hawk circling the sky, the murmur of the dove in the grass; a battle cry, a cry of grief; the cry of the warrior, the cry of the lost lover. All are in the passion of Advent.
John the Baptist arrives with the cry of the hawk. He is a warrior in battle, the prophet going to Jerusalem. PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, John first cries. MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. (You brood of vipers, we’ll hear next week). Make a path through the wilderness. Make a path through the clutter in your hearts.
Both paths need opening in the wilderness of everyday pre-occupations, and in our cluttered hearts. How many of you have cleared a path in the woods? I’m not talking about raking leaves in the backyard. I’m talking about a woods filled with vines, thick with undergrowth, with low lying branches that snap back. Has anyone cleared a path in such a setting? Who has cut a path in such a setting?