Sunday, December 4, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 3:1-12

Second Sunday of Advent - Matthew 3:1-12

The main character in today’s Gospel is John the Baptist.  As we know, John was Jesus’ cousin; however he also was a prophet.  As John traveled through the desert, he proclaimed: “Reform your lives!  The reign of God is at hand”!  It was of John that the prophet Isaiah said: “A herald’s voice in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his path’”.

John was clothed in a garment of camel’s hair, he wore a leather belt around his waist and he ate grasshoppers and wild honey.  Many people from Judea came to hear John preach.  He baptized many of his followers in the Jordan River and they confessed their sins to God.  However, when John realized that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to him to be baptized, he bluntly said to them: “You brood of vipers!  Who told you to flee from the wrath to come? Give some evidence that you truly wish to reform your lives”!  He spoke of Abraham then he adds: “Do not pride yourself that Abraham was your father”.  John had the courage to be truthful with the Pharisees.

John came to pave the way for Jesus.  He was called by God to prophesy to the people.  He was popular with some people and not with others.  I am sure that his preaching was disturbing to the people who feared his message and his popularity was also frightening to the people in power.  Ask yourself: How would I respond if someone today were preaching the message that John preached?  Most likely, I would respond as many did at that time.  However, I would hope that I would be open-minded enough not to completely dismiss his preaching.  I hope that I would examine his words seriously and sense his complete sincerity.

We never know when we might encounter a “John” in our lives.  We still have prophets in our day!  May you (and I) be open to their teaching and to the sincerity of their lives!  Open your mind and heart today!  You may receive an unexpected message!

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