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Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord
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"Godspell" was a Broadway musical which opened in 1971 and is a series of parables based mostly on the Gospel of St. Matthew. The first song after the Opening and the Prologue is "Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord," which is started and led by the character of John the Baptist. It is a representation of St. John baptizing the people in the Jordan River and calling them to repent and prepare.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord.
Repentance and preparation are great themes for all of Lent, and especially for this last week before Easter. In the Catholic Church, Lent is a time of Baptism and preparation for Easter. It may be seen as that final period where we sincerely and deeply think about our spiritual lives and get ready to celebrate Christ's resurrection. Using sports as an analogy, the final week before a big event, be it a marathon or a championship game (think football, American or the rest of the world, baseball, basketball, track, etc.), marks the completion of the intense training. However, that does not mean an end to the training.
As St. Paul said (1 Cor 9:24-27) "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified."
In this last week, we continue our "training" by focusing on victory at the end. We continue to prepare the way of the Lord.
And how do we prepare the way of the Lord? The Catholic Church teaches that we prepare by prayer, fasting and almsgiving (USCCB Lent). These are all examples that Jesus gave us as described in the Gospels. He prayed and fasted for forty days in the desert before he began his ministry (Mt 4:1-11). He lived his life giving alms, and preached almsgiving as well (Mt 6:1-4). Thus, to prepare the way of the Lord, we should seek to live as Jesus lived. This message is clearly presented in the song "Day By Day," which is based on the following prayer written by St. Richard of Chichester:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.
The last three lines of this prayer are, of course, the primary lyrics of the song "Day By Day."
The entire Gospel of St. Matthew, as with all the Gospels, call us to prepare the way of the Lord. In this last week of Lent, these two songs jump out as ideal messages to guide us, as Christians, toward Jesus so that we can truly celebrate his Resurrection and his victory over sin and death.
Finding God Through Music blog