By Erica Schieffer

Happy Advent, friends and families!

In today’s gospel, we read about St. John the Baptist crying out in the desert to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.”

How fitting this is for our students preparing to receive their first sacrament of Reconciliation in the next few days.

Children (and adults), I challenge you to ponder this story with me.

     A child loved tomatoes so much that one day, he decided to plant his own so he could have the freshest and juiciest tomatoes whenever he wanted. As he planned out his tomato garden, he picked the exact spot where they would get the best sunlight and he could easily water them. However, there was one problem: instead of planting tomato seeds, the child found a packet of Pumpkin seeds and planted those.

As he watered the seeds daily and the sprouts began to grow, the child excitedly anticipated the mouth-watering tomatoes he would quickly devour. But he soon found that only pumpkins grew.

In this story, did it make sense for the child to plant one kind of seed, expecting another to grow from it?

God tells us that we cannot plant seeds of anger, expecting flowers of peace. We cannot toss in seeds of bitterness, and expect a crop of forgiveness, and the plant of hated will never produce love. These bad seeds that we allow to take root in our hearts will never become the good fruit we hope and pray for.

During this Advent season, as we “Prepare the way of the Lord” in our hearts, let us look closely at the seeds that we are nurturing. If they are bad seeds like hatred, anger, conflict, rudeness, selfishness, jealousy, envy, etc. then let us ask God for His help to remove these and “make straight His path” of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the perfect place to identify these bad seeds and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness so that we can start cultivating seeds that will bear the good fruit our souls desire.

This Advent, let us cultivate seeds of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.