John the Baptist prepares the Lord’s way

Published December 5, 2020, 11:39 PM

by Manila Bulletin

MATTHEW 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”/ John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

At home in the backstage

There are many people whom we call actors “behind the scenes.” We do not often see them, but without them the “shows” people enjoy may not be possible. Indeed, many of us act as “facilitators,” pavers of the way, preparing for the “show” where others take on the main roles.

John the Baptist is like this in some sense, though much greater, perhaps. He is not simply “behind the scene”; he is also very active in his own right. To be “herald” (kerux in Greek) is to announce, to prepare, to alert people to an upcoming important event. John heralds the coming of our Lord. And how he fares as a herald! He is not just a timid voice, but a voice “crying out in the desert.” He does not only routinely or for formality’s sake “invite” people to repentance; he challenges and condemns in harshest of words the scribes and Pharisees who do not live up to who they are as religious leaders.

As workers “behind the scene,” are we simply quiet, less serious, timid, and complacent? We can learn a lot from the herald John the Baptist.

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

 
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