Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
Matthew 3:1-12 is our gospel for today. Let us remember that today marks the second day of Advent. The second Sunday that we wait for the birthday of Jesus. We are already preparing our homes for the Christmas eve. We decorate our houses and prepare gifts for everybody.
In Matthew 3:1-12, St. John the Baptist is the leading man. He was the first one who introduced to the people the coming of the Jesus. “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, according to John. He announces this message in Judea so all people would know about the coming.
We will take it from here and make a big realization within ourselves. In Matthew 3:1-12, John the Baptist is announcing the near birth of his cousin Jesus. He is trying to tell the people to get prepared for the savior who will save their sins as well as punish them for it.
As Christians, we are to reflect on the gospel from Matthew 3:1-12. We are the same people who are bound to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. What does it mean to prepare the way? It means we have to cleanse our hearts and make a space for Him. The preparations we do in our homes are only physical preparations. What we should prepare first is our soul, our heart. The lavish preparations we have are nothing if within us we did nothing.
Matthew 3:1-12 is reminding us all that we don’t need to prepare in exaggeration. All we need to do is prepare our hearts and minds through contemplation and prayer. We understand that this Christmas marks a new beginning after all the calamities we had. People rich and poor are now trying to get prepared in their own little ways. This is the season of repentance and forgiveness. Most of all, this is the season of giving and sharing to all. – Clea | Helpline PH