December 4 2022 Gospel Reading and Reflection

12/4/2022 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 3:1-12

1 John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
3 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.
4 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
5 At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him
6 and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
7 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?
8 Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.”

12/4/2022 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 3:1-12

John is supposed to be the hero in this gospel event yet He acknowledges that He is not. He is only here to prepare the way of the one who is coming and who is mightier than him. The one who is coming is, of course, no other than Jesus. Many people, in fact Matthew says the people of “Jerusalem, all of Judea and the regions around the Jordan”, were coming to him for baptism. Although this is the language of hyperbole, we can say that John was really popular. After all, it has been a long, long while since the last real prophet appeared on the scene. The point is, it never entered John’s head to relish his popularity. He is aware of his mission. He is indeed aware that there is someone mightier than He is.

Humility is really the first requirement of repentance. Without humility, we can not accept our weaknesses and failures. Without humility, there is no real repentance. This is what was lacking in the Pharisees and Sadducees. These people thought they were already holy because they were children of Abraham and that they followed all the laws of Moses. Perhaps they were there at the River Jordan to see and be seen by the crowds and not really to repent.

When we are humble, we realize how unworthy we are like John the Baptist who accepted that He was unworthy to even untie Jesus’ sandals (John 1:27). With humility, we recognize that we are in need of a savior. The advent season is a perfect time to reflect on our unworthiness and our need for Jesus. May we really heed the call of John the Baptist to repent as the best way to prepare for His coming.

Go here for further reflection.

Gospel Reading with Reflection for December 4, 2022
Gospel Reading with Reflection for December 4, 2022

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