Matthew 3: 1-12
While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptiser,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
John and his message were authorised by Isaiah’s prophecy:
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
John dressed in a camel-hair habit tied at the waist by a leather strap. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild field honey. People poured out of Jerusalem, Judea, and the Jordanian countryside to hear and see him in action. There at the Jordan River those who came to confess their sins were baptised into a changed life.
When John realised that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin! And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a ten a penny. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s dead wood, it goes on the fire.
“I’m baptising you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
The precious gift of baptism allows every individual to not only confess and repent their sins to God, but, it allows us to start a new page. Each new page of each new chapter has a meaning, and a meaning that has been given to us by our creator, the Lord. To make each day count, and with much purpose, we as children of God must want to be Godly. Godly in the sense that we are made in the image of Christ and live our lives with such fulfilment. Surely, we cannot all be sinless, yet, we can always try to make every word and action count; which allows us to both serve and share with others the message of God; and with God as our reason and strength.
We as children of God have been given the opportunity to repent and to live our lives to the fullest and with much meaning. It is up to us as individuals to crave, desire, want, and need to live our lives as God intended. Only then can we listen to what God is telling us and follow His plans for us – as God already knows what is in our hearts and what we are capable of pursuing. We only need to trust in God and give Him our all – in knowing that He is always with us holding us up. We are called to prepare ourselves to be part of the Kingdom by opening ourselves to love.
Br Gregory Echegwo SDB
May I thank you for each day of my life,
Each day whereby I have the opportunity to be a child of Yours,
May I remind myself of who You are,
As through You I am able to make each day have a meaning.
May I share my thirst for knowledge and gifts with others,
In making Your word and teachings known,
So that we can learn from Your example,
In making our lives known to You.
St John the Baptist,
Pray for us.
You're calling me over
You're pulling me close
With love You surround me
You give me hope
You're taking me deeper
You're making me whole
With grace You redeem me
You restore my soul
Now I'm made new
Because of You
You hold my head up
You remind me who I am
You hold my head up
I'm alive in You again
I'm made new
You're making me stronger
You're healing my heart
With Your hands You hold me
And You set me apart
You are my salvation
I will not fear
You're the strength of my life
I won't fear