“Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord”

Advent Reflection by Patrick Carolan, FAN Executive Director
Originally published in our weekly newsletter Nov. 24, 2014

This Sunday we begin the Advent season. Advent is a time of hope and renewal. It is the time where we prepare for the birth of our Lord; it is a season of looking forward and waiting for something greater. We know the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to a strange land and found no rooms available to them. But a kindly innkeeper welcomed them and gave them a place to stay in a manger out back. After Jesus was born they again traveled to another land; Egypt. They were immigrants, undocumented in a strange land. Think for a moment if the story were a little different. Suppose the people of Egypt were tired and fearful of all these “illegals” coming across the border, claiming they were a burden on society. They built a fence to try and keep “those people” out. They regularly rounded up and arrested undocumented people. Sent them off to detention centers where they tried to dehumanize them and then deported them. Families were split apart; children were left to wonder where their mothers or fathers were.


Imagine Joseph was at work one day, maybe in a carpentry shop working under the table because he did not have the right permit. He was working hard to provide for Mary and his son, Jesus. Mary was home taking care of Jesus and preparing dinner for Joseph when he came home from a hard day’s work. As he left his workplace Joseph was apprehended by immigration officials. They took him away for being undocumented. Mary was still waiting for Joseph to come home for dinner. She had no idea what happened to him. Jesus was maybe two or three at the time. Mary took Jesus and went to look for Joseph. She went to the place where they held the undocumented but nobody would tell her anything. Joseph was deported and Mary was left without knowing what happened to her husband. She was worried about how she was going to survive. Jesus cried every night asking what happened to daddy, when is daddy coming home. How different the incarnation story would be if it happened today and Mary and Joseph were from Mexico and traveled to the USA.


The Gospel reading tells us “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” It goes on to say: “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” I remember as a high school student going to Broadway and seeing the play Godspell. I was mesmerized by the song “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” How do we prepare the way of the Lord? If we invited friends over for diner we might make sure the house was clean, take out the good china, and prepare a special meal. Maybe we would go and buy a nice bottle of wine. But the gospel tells us that we do not know when Jesus will come knocking on our door. How can we prepare when we do not know the time? Would we even recognize Jesus? Suppose he came as an undocumented person. Would we send him away, turn him over to authorities?


If we do not welcome all as our brothers and sisters we are not preparing the way for the Lord. Maybe Jesus will pass our houses by and visit those who are welcoming all God’s children.


Peace and all Good

Patrick Carolan

Executive Director

Published in: on November 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Brother Patrick
    Your article states:”If we do not welcome all as our brothers and sisters we are not preparing the way for the Lord. Maybe Jesus will pass our houses by and visit those who are welcoming all God’s children.”
    Certainly, your point is well taken. However, as we have an obligation in Justice to our brothers and sisters, do we not also have an obligation in Justice to our civil governments? Do we not also have an obligation in Justice to obey their laws? Your article, while emphasizing the “welcoming” due to our brothers and sisters, omits and equal obligation to “welcome” the established law of our civil government.

    Thank You for an interesting article

    David Joseph Weir, OFS

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