Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 3:1-12.
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
(and) saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'”
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
The celebrations through Christmas parties often distract us from the true meaning of Advent.
The Church teaches us that Advent refers to the “coming” of Christ so we are supposed to prepare ourselves through a contemplative spiritual renewal so that God will find us worthy to receive Christ both in His Nativity(Christmas) and in His second coming when He comes to judge the world.
John the baptist who was chosen to be the forerunner of Christ emphasized the need to prepare the way through the repentance of our Sins.
The season of Advent should afford us the opportunity to avail ourselves with the sacrament of reconciliation, do penance, be steadfast with Advent prayers, engage in spiritual works of Mercy and seek the conversion of the ignorant so that His Coming will not be Sudden to us.
May God grant us the grace to be prepared through Christ our Lord…Amen!