Photo illustration by Phil Younk
Click on the photo for a printable PDF!
We, too, are called to prepare way of the Lord
Based on the readings Is 11:1-10; Rm 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12
Conversion – commitment – hope – grace.
The reading from Isaiah proclaims a vision of hope and peace for all nations looking to God’s fidelity to Israel and to God’s Word.
Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, teaches that our source of unity as a community depends on our efforts and encouragement to live out what we believe. His practical advice is to read the Scriptures (15:4). By making an effort to understand God’s Word, we grow in our relationship with God and then his grace will be seen in our lives.
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, “Change your lives! Turn away from sin and selfishness! Tell God you’re sorry! 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 and we become members of the Body of Christ, the church. By virtue of our baptism, we are to “prepare the way of the Lord.” We, too, are to call others to Jesus.
The Holy Father’s mission intention for December is “Prepare the Savior’s Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word Incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior’s coming.”
The Apostleship of Prayer’s reflection on this prayer intention challenges us: “If we do allow the Word of God to take on flesh in us, then, little by little, we as individuals will be transformed. In fact, in us and through God’s grace humanity as a whole will be transformed and we are hastening the day when Christ will return and establish his kingdom once and for all.”