In her commentary on the first reading for the Second Sunday of Advent, Leonie Caldecott continues her journey through the season of waiting, puzzled and anxious, for the coming of the Christ-child
“A voice cries in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” St John the Baptist is the prophet of the turning point, where the old covenant cedes to the new. The moment is foretold by another great prophet, Isaiah. More than simply predicting events, a prophet tells us what is really going on. If you think about it, the two things are inseparable. What is coming in the future has its roots in the present struggle: between our alienation from the God in whose image we are made, and our need to reintegrate with that which we have despoiled.
The first reading (Baruch 5:1-9) almost seems to frame this reconciliation as a kind of forest bathing. “And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God: for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.”