Today, in the first reading we read: «Now I am sending my messenger ahead of me to clear the way» (Mal 3:1). Malachi's prophecy is fulfilled by John the Baptist. He is one of the main characters in the liturgy of Advent. He invites us to prepare ourselves with prayer and penance for the arrival of the Lord. As the collect of today's Mass says: «Your Son's birth is near; may the love of He who is the Word made flesh who became man in the Virgin's womb to live among men, welcome us».
The Precursor's birth speaks of the proximity of Christmas. The Lord is at hand!: let's get ourselves ready! When asked who he was by the priests who had come from Jerusalem, he said: «I am the voice crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord» (Jn 1:23).
«Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with me» (Rev 3:20), we read in the Communion antiphone. It is necessary to examine ourselves to see how we are preparing ourselves to receive Jesus this Christmas: God, more than anything, wants to be born in our hearts.
The Precursor's life teaches us the virtues we need to receive Jesus properly; fundamentally, humility of the heart. He acknowledges himself as an instrument of God, to fulfil his vocation, his mission. As Saint Ambrose says: «Do not boast that they call you son of God —let us acknowledge His grace without forgetting our human nature—; do not become proud if you have served well because you have done just what was expected from you. The sun does its job, the moon obeys, the angels of the Lord do their duty. The instrument chosen by God for serve the Gentiles said: ‘I am the last of the apostles, and I do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God’ (1Cor 15:9)».
We are looking for the glory of God only. The virtue of humility will help us to prepare ourselves for the coming festivities appropriately.