Why go into the desert and cry out? The voice in the desert is lonesome, heard only by those who go there to listen. Let’s leave our routines, go into the spiritual deserts of our hearts, and listen today.

The words of preparation John preaches are joyful. Why? First, to be told you are on the wrong path is good news. Have you ever followed your GPS to the wrong place because of an address typo? “It would have been nice to know this before I traveled across town to the wrong place,” you thought. Second, it is joyful to be told what makes your beloved happy, because you then know what will please him or her.

Good news! John’s preaching points us to our destination in Jesus and to what makes him happy.The rose vestments worn by our priests today symbolize that joy. Notice in the painting of Isaiah, he is wearing that color, too. Another interesting detail is that Isaiah is holding his fin- ger in the book while looking back at a young cherub, who in turn points to his neighbor. Isaiah’s finger is in the Gospels, where he is the most quoted prophet of the Old Testament. Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah, and John the Baptist quotes Isaiah’s prophesy about “the voice crying out in the desert.”

Perhaps the cherub behind Isaiah is John the Baptist. And perhaps the barely visible baby to whom the little John the Baptist is pointing represents Christ, the reason for our joy.

—Fr. Mark Haydu, LC

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