The 3rd definition of “preparation” in the American Dictionary of the English Language1 reads: “a preliminary measure that serves to make ready for something”.
In the center of Marlborough we’ve seen preliminary site work for a Big Y Supermarket and Pharmacy. Former buildings have been torn down. There’s been excavating done, fill trucked in, leveling and compacting of that fill, and pipes are ready to be placed in the ground for drainage. It has taken some time, years in fact; and we are impatient its completion. We hope that the day will arrive when we can have a full service grocery store in town. It’s coming!
The readings of today are also about site work, making spirits and souls ready for the coming of God.
Isaiah is writing to the people in Exile, many of whom had lost hope of ever returning to their homeland which they had only heard of since they were born in Babylon and their parents, and certainly their grandparents, have died. He promises a new and even better Exodus with every valley filled in, every mountain made low, the rugged land made a plain, and rough country becoming a broad valley. Isaiah assures them that God will rule by his strong arm but look out for them like a shepherd, carrying them close to his chest and leading them with care.
In the Gospel of Mark today we meet John the Baptist who is preparing the people by a baptism of repentance for one who is coming after him who will be mightier than he.
And Peter pledges that the day of the Lord will come but the Lord is delaying that time to give them an opportunity to repent.
Like the first exiles and the people to whom Peter addressed himself, we perhaps will not be around to see a new heavens and a new earth. But by acts of devotion and holiness we can hasten the coming of the day of God; in other words, by doing the site work.
2nd Sunday of Advent, B, 2017
 Fourth Edition, Houghton Miflin Company, Boston New York, ©2000