THEME: LIFE OF THE NEW KINGDOM
(Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12)
Today, John will say that it no longer enough to be baptised into a Church and be a regular member of a Church community. Rather we too must change our lives in conformity to the Gospel or risk the danger of facing “the retribution that is coming”. Just has Christ said, “Not all those you say, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven”. John abstained from things that ordinary people could not abstain and need not abstain from. He placed himself and his lifestyle entirely at the service of his prophetic mission of preparing the way for God’s chosen Messiah. He did not allow his personality and ego to cloud his mission and his message, or to take the position of the Messiah. Rather he allowed the coming Messiah to occupy the centre stage.
Everything about John is a sign for us and for our church today. We need men and women who like John will unreservedly place themselves at the service of God without necessarily thinking of what is in this for themselves; men and women who will continually place the cause of advancing the values of the Gospel over and above their personalities and personal interest and privileges.
Friends in Christ, as we prepare and wait for the coming of the new Kingdom, our waiting has to be an active one. We have to prepare ourselves and the world to be ready to receive the new Kingdom when it arrives. Since it will be a Kingdom of justice, equality; we must right now work for justice for all, until justice will form the basis of all our dealings, not pity. Since in the new Kingdom all will be equal, we must right now work for equality for all. Since harmony will be the soul of the heavenly music in the new Kingdom, we must right now strive “to live in perfect harmony with one another according to the spirit Jesus” (Rom. 15:5). Since it will be a new Kingdom of friends, we must right now try to become to each other true friends in the Lord, not false friends who roll out red carpet for you one day and pull it out from under you next. Since in the new Kingdom all will be brothers and sisters, we must right now come closer and closer to our neighbours. “Reform your lives, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”(Mtt.3:2)
May the grace of the Eucharistic celebration help us to open our hearts to the Lord and to His Word, so that we all can follow His ways as announced by John the Baptist. Prepare the way for the Lord!