This is the age of advertisements. Wherever we are, we are flooded with advertisements. When we travel on the road, on our clothes, on sandals and shoes, in the newspaper, on the internet, everywhere we come across ads. The purpose is to catch the attention of the consumer within us.
Our God in the Bible is also doing the same. He is trying to advertise salvation. He has throughout history tried to invite the people to repentance. He started His invitation from the very beginnings of the history of humankind when the first parents turned away from God through sin. When the earth was filled with malice and sin He cleansed the face of the earth through a flood. After that, He made covenants with Noah, Abraham, and other fathers of the people of Israel. He gave the Law through Moses so that the people might stay in His love by obeying them. Whenever the people disobeyed the commandments He sent prophets to them who called them to repentance. In the fullness of the time, God was willing to send His only Son who spoke of loving Father who is waiting for the return of the sinners. John the Baptist heralded His coming and his message was also the same “repent.”
Why does God always come after man? Because He knows that sin cannot provide lasting joy to him. From this point of view, we can better understand the importance of the sacrament of penance. It is a place where I admit that my understanding of a certain act was not right. It is an occasion where I come to the realization that I have gone after things that would never give me lasting joy and happiness. Let us today take seriously this advertisement of God through John the baptist, “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”