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John the Baptist calls us to conversion, commitment

Based on Is 11:1-10; Rom 12:4-9; Mt 3:1-12

He lived in the desert. He wore clothes made of camel’s hair, which are hot, itchy and uncomfortable. He ate locusts and wild honey. He had a long, scraggly beard. He was the last and greatest prophet who announced the arrival of the Messiah. His name was John the Baptist.

In Matthew’s Gospel, John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and his forerunner – one who announces the coming of another – boldly calls people to conversion and commitment. People flocked to the Jordan River to listen to John. In a thunderous voice, he preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus is here to teach you about God’s love and everlasting life.” John’s message is so important all four Gospels tell it.

To be ready for the Messiah, John called the people to baptism in the Jordan River. In this way, John stands between the Old Testament and the New Testament pointing the way to Jesus. When John baptized the people in the river, it was just a sign of their willingness to convert their hearts and commit themselves to love God and others by their words and actions.

Our baptism is a sacrament through which our sin is taken away by the power of the Holy Spirit, grace is conferred and we become members of the Body of Christ, the church. By our baptism, we have a special relationship with God and we, too, are to call others to Jesus.

It’s the second week of Advent and one week closer to Christmas. Are you getting your heart ready for Jesus by prayer, reading the Bible and the sacrament of reconciliation, etc.?

Don’t let the material preparations for celebrating Christmas become so important they block out the spiritual preparations.

Be prayerful, good, forgiving and loving. “Come, Lord Jesus!”