“John the Baptizer made his appearance as a preacher in the desert of Judea.” —Matthew 3:1
This Sunday the Church introduces us to a crusty character named St. John the Baptizer. He dressed in a garment of camel’s hair (Mt 3:4). If you know anything about the revolting habits of camels, you understand why you wouldn’t want to cut their hair. John not only dressed oddly but also ate strangely. He’d snatch up a grasshopper and dip it in some honey as we would dip a potato chip or a chicken nugget. Then he’d munch on the grasshopper (Mt 3:4).
John talked as you’d expect someone to talk who eats grasshoppers. He roared at the religious leaders: “You brood of vipers! Who told you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Mt 3:7) Of course, John was the one who told them to flee from the wrath to come. John was a prophet, and more than a prophet (Mt 11:9). We need to listen to him. Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph will not call us to repentance, but John will. The salesclerks, TV announcers, and celebrities won’t tell us the Gospel truth, but John will.
John still roars: “Reform your lives! The reign of God is at hand” (Mt 3:2). “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths” (Mt 3:3). “Give some evidence that you mean to reform” (Mt 3:8).
PRAYER: Father, send someone into my life to call me to repentance. May I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as soon as possible.
PROMISE: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.” —Is 11:2
PRAISE: “I solemnly assure you, an hour is coming, has indeed come, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have heeded it shall live” (Jn 5:25). Thank You, risen Jesus!
Closing thought: Prepare your heart for Christmas by going to Confession.
(From a reflection by a member of the editorial team of the late Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries)
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