In last week’s reflections, we were talking about the need to be ready at all times, to be awake, to be alert.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt. 3: 1-12), St. John the Baptist gave us what this readiness is about and what are the preparations we need to do:
the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had
spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare
the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt
around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.”
It speaks that in order to be ready, one must repent of his sins. This isn’t only about going to confession but will require a change of mind and heart. St. John the Baptist modelled this repentance by the way he lived. The Lord though is not asking us to live in the forest and eat locusts and wild honey, but we must exercise sensitivity to the poor amongst us. The proof of this repentance is the harvest of good fruit. We have to be aware that there has to be an abundance of good works that will flow out. We have to take a look at ourselves whether others are already seeing good things coming out from our faith experience. We are not to presume that since “we belong to this community” or that “ministry” we are automatically saved, as St. John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and the Sadducees,
good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to
‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”
We are warned against hypocrisy, as most of the leaders of the synagogue were like that in the Lord’s time. So grave is the sin of hypocrisy that St. John the Baptist said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”
Preparing the path for the Savior requires for us to straighten our ways so that we can have the chance to be saved. This preparation will be challenged and tested. There will be difficulties but one must persevere and overcome these with prayer, reflection and mindfulness.
Today, let us continue to pray for strength and perseverance to overcome these distractions. May the Lord bless us, guide us, and protect us during this Advent Season.
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Lk. 3: 4,6)