Editor’s note: During Advent, Father Ken Kirkman will be offering weekly reflections at thecatholicsun.com to help us all prepare our hearts and minds during this season of anticipation and hope. This is the second reflection in the series. Read the first here.

One of the refrains we will continue to hear throughout Advent comes from this Sunday’s Gospel: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” John the Baptist took up the message of the prophet Isaiah to call the people of Israel to repentance. That is a worthy task for us even now, as we prepare for the coming of Christ. We know that repentance is turning away from sin, and turning back towards God. But there is an added dimension for us to consider.

The mission of our diocese is evangelization, and for most Catholics, the primary way we can evangelize is by the witness of our lives. The way we live, then, is itself a “path of the Lord” that leads others to Christ. But sin blocks that path. If we truly want to bring others into the Body of Christ, sin will only ever get in our way. This time of year always presents us with many challenges and stresses; what better way to prepare for a joyful Christmas than to get rid of something that is only holding us back? Many parishes will be offering penance services and participating in the Light Is On For You. Consider joining us for one of these, so that together the paths of our lives can run straight to our Lord.

Father Kirkman serves as parochial vicar of St. Mary and St. Anthony of Padua in Cortland.

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