“AND in those days cometh John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea. And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by Isaias the prophet, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. And the same John had his garment of camels' hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan: And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but He that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
My dearest beloved brethren, isn’t it extraordinary how a mortified person can draw people closer to God. People admire one whose needs are minimal, who is the master of his own appetites, who has a deep interior freedom. John the Baptist, with minimal clothes and minimal food, was a magnet. People trusted him because clearly he could not be bought. As Churchill said of Lawrence of Arabia, “Because he despised the world’s prizes, the world held him in awe. He was enfranchised by his indifference to its pleasures.”
Where are the chains on us, the appetites which we have not mastered, and that pull us in ways we do not want?
Help us towards freer hearts and bodies, Lord, I pray in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
God has made you the John the Baptist of the present age; may your calls, prayers to humanity and your love of God, win more souls for Christ, dear disciples of Christ Jesus.
Today, John the Baptist re-echoes his call to us for repentance. We may feel uncomfortable when confronted with John's call to repentance but we have to listen and acknowledge the call, and admitting and accepting and not being in denial that we are sinners in need of God's mercy. Advent is not for anyone who cannot admit this.
God does not want us to passively receive the Word. We work with God, preparing the way in our lives, expecting and hopefully watching for God’s approach and answers.
May we hearken to the call to us to repent and I pray the Lord to grant us the Grace repent of our sins and then follow the Lord’s ways, today and everyday of our lives, in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I pray. Amen.
On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, please do remember to take your family and go worship and adore the Lord; and invite the Lord home to come and have dinner with all of you.