Within our own Irish tradition, An Bóthar (the Cow’s trail) was a mediocre type of road. Its width was laid down by law to accommodate two cows. This was defined in the following way, If two cows are travelling along a bóthar, side-by-side, one cow should have enough room to turn right around. [i]
Bóithre (roads) were in a time before the tracks and roads were laid for the trains, the planes, and the automobiles. Journeys on these roads whether in Ireland or other locations took many turns and twists and had their own hills and valleys. Not much in those days was made straight.
John the Baptist was a person on a mission. His life had a purpose, a real meaning, similar to when we meet people today who are committed to a cause. John prepared the road so we could see Jesus in our world.
We think of people who act in solidarity with the poor or strive towards peace today. They live in a way that speaks to their convictions. They are witnesses to the Good News.
Their lives prepare us to learn about serving God through word and deed. They straighten the roads and help prepare our hearts of stone to be transformed.
Today as we prepare for Christmas, let us look around our world and reflect,
- Where in our communities have the roads to be straightened to allow us to see the reality of poverty, climate injustice, bigotry and prejudice?
- Can our response to this reality be heart-felt?
- Can our response be Jesus like?