Who paved this
For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The Prophet Baruch proclaims words similar to those proclaimed by Isaiah and Sirach: prepare, make straight the path for the Lord. We hear those same words re-proclaimed by John the Baptist:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth…”
These prophetic words are heard in church each Advent. They easily define for us the things we are to do as part of both our Advent journey and throughout the rest of the year. We are to prepare ourselves and make ourselves ready for the coming of the Lord.
How should we prepare? The Church helps to guide us – and the guidance certainly isn’t to be busy, busy, busy all the time with decorating and shopping. The Lord is expecting a different kind of present from us – a prepared, humble, and penitent heart – a heart filled with love for Him and for our neighbor.
A far more difficult question is, even with the Church’s help, whether we are able to prepare enough. How can we fully turn our lives around so that we are perfectly ready for the Lord?
Thankfully, Baruch tells us how those high mountains will be made low, how deep valleys and gorges will be filled in, how the road will be made ready – how we will be made ready: God will do it. The high mountains in our lives – those things too difficult to overcome on our own and the deep valleys of failure will be overcome and filled in by God.
Baruch tells us that God has commanded these things. Having commanded it, that is, having made it a requirement, He had to bring His command to fulfillment.
God brought all things to fulfillment by sending His Son, Jesus, to accomplish His command. Jesus was and is the only One who can level the mountains and valleys of sin, despair, and death for us. He took all those things away and paved the road of life for us. He took away our sins – all of them. In a similar way, God stated multiple times (see Deuteronomy, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) that He would make our hearts ready.
All of this mountain leveling, valley filling, and road paving are impossible for us on our own. We cannot earn God’s favor. Rather, we make ready by accepting Him fully in faith. That is the preparation that is most important. Accepting Him and traveling His way we shall see the salvation of God. He paved the road and we just have to take it.