John’s Message – Our Message
John the Baptist preached a message of change and repentance. The tone that Matthew sets in the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (Matthew 3:1-12) reads quite dramatic. John was the prophet who would prepare the way for the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit, the same one who the prophet Isaiah spoke of. John’s call to repent reminds us of Advent’s penitential nature. In the Second Reading, (Is. 11:1-10) Isaiah wrote some interesting words which I think can help us as we reflect on the situations in our lives. Isaiah says the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon us. It is a spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength.
The role of the prophets was to deliver God’s message. People did not always want to listen. Who wants to, after all, reflect on the way we live our lives? We try to do what is right and good, but due to our sinful nature we are not always successful. We hurt others and we go against what God wants from us. It can’t be helped. This is where reflection is important and the spirit which Isaiah writes of. This spirit gives us the wisdom to go to the heart of helping us understand what went wrong. It counsels us and gives us the strength to admit what we did wrong, which is not always easy. It’s one thing to talk to God and tell him how sorry we are for the mistakes we have made, but I am not sure it is enough. When we talk to someone about it, whether it is a priest or trust worthy acquaintance, we express what we reflected and realize what went wrong.
As hard as it is to admit our faults and mistakes it is freeing to let go of the rock of guilt. We come to understand why God gives us certain situations and we no longer view them as bad experiences, but as lessons which help us grow and be better people. The kingdom of God depends on it.