Awhile back, the angels suggested I dedicate Sundays to the Gospels. With love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of 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.”
John the Baptist announces the Good News and the Salvation of Jesus, and assists in preparing by preaching a baptism of repentance. John recognizes and announces the Divinity of Christ, as he once had in the womb in St. Elizabeth, as an infant-for even then the Holy Spirit was upon him to proclaim the Good News!
This was prior to the ministry of Christ, before people really knew Jesus. Before people could really know the relationship of Jesus and God the Father in Heaven. Although prophets had been sent in prior centuries, proclaiming God’s goodness and some even proclaiming the coming of the Savior, not one was like Jesus. It wasn’t until Jesus came that people could understand the Salvation that followed. John is preparing for Jesus’ Divine baptism of the Holy Spirit-God’s very own Life Giving Presence that was to come; and is with us, even now. [see reference]
In Jesus Holy Name
Reference: Workbook for Lectors and Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word 2017