John the Baptist makes this call that is always relevant, as he prepares the appearance of Jesus, the Messiah, and as we prepare for Christmas and the coming of the Lord at the end of time.
Repentance is not a feeling, though it is often accompanied by sorrow and regret. Repentance involves three things: (1) a change of mind- a new way of seeing, (2) a change of heart- a new direction in life, and (3) a change of behavior- a new way of acting.
We prepare the way of the Lord to our lives and to our society by changing our way of thinking- the primacy in our lives of possessions, power, pleasure, and popularity. We must change our attitude– the great desire to be always at the top of everybody and everything: me first, and me always. We must change our behavior: we have to produce good fruit as evidence of our repentance.
We have even better reasons today for repentance. Not only is the Kingdom of God near; it has come in Jesus Christ. And we have a better motive; not only that God will punish us if we do not change; but that God is so loving and forgiving and has been so kind and patient as we come to realize the need for a change.
In Advent we await with eager longing the Lord who comes to bless the poor in spirit, to dispel the darkness of our selfishness, and to empower us to do sacrifices for the sake of others.