In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the 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 that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Even now the axe is laid to 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 he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
My 2 Cents Worth
I like St John the Baptist. We dress alike, think alike, and know how to split wood. My kinda saint. No fashion sense, whatsoever. Dirt poor. And, on a high protein (bugs) and low carb (honey) diet. No social-savvy whatsoever. Yep. He doesn’t dilly dally. He gets to the point. And, he takes on professional religious whipper snappers, who don’t know squat much less live it.
St John not only points out Jesus’ coming, he points out that he, himself is not worthy to unfasten Christ’s sandals. He didn’t mince words, about the Jewish Leader’s need, for repentance. He spoke Truth 2 Power. It cost St John his head, eventually. It cost Jesus, His Body and Blood, taking on the Pharisees and Sadducees, too. Shooting the messenger is the result of being outspoken, about the need for repentance.
Repentance is something we all can agree on is needed, by everyone of us. Christ’s unblemished Blood redeems us in every good Confession and remits venial sin, in every Holy Communion.
In order for Jesus’ Blood to be “unblemished” from Original or Actual Sin, His Mother’s body, blood and soul had to be unblemished, by a singular privilege called her, Immaculate Conception, in the womb of Saint Anne….Jesus’ maternal grandmother.
Those are my closing thoughts, for today, the start of a new week. Let’s hope it’s a better week. Let’s live it like it’s our last week. All for Christ Jesus. All through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All in union, with St Joseph, St John the Baptist and all the Saints.