by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 3: 1-18
Today’s reading tells us about the beginning of the mission of St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord. St. Luke quotes the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3) about the work of the forerunner. It is written that St. John had a vision from God Almighty to preach against the sins of the people of God and St. John undertook the mission with a decision to caution the listeners about the seriousness of their sins. He exhorted them to repent and gave baptism of repentance to a large number of people who approached him day by day. He was strict in using the hard words so that there might be sudden change in the attitude of the listeners. In verse 7 we read, “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” The multitude who listened St. John was really much better than us. If somebody was addressing us as ‘children of vipers’ or so, will we turn our face to the person who might address us? If we were there in the place of the multitude, we would have at least filed a case against him. The multitude had a sudden transformation of the mind. They all repented and forsake their wrong living styles.
Are we not listening the ‘word of God’ every now and then from the prominent and efficient orators in addition to the addresses given by our priests every week? Does any one of us think about repentance? Why we are not bothered about the repentance, the basic requirement of being a true Christian? The modern society, from young to the old, is not happy in hearing something about their weakness or wrong doings. All are happy to listen where they are appreciated or applauded. We are not only serious about the growth of spirituality in us but also we are not bothered about the spirituality of the growing generation. This is a serious problem and we all must look into it with utmost care and attention. Where correction is needed, let us introduce correction or rebinding. Let us take a decision to repent and let us make use of the sacrament of Holy Confession meaningfully. Let the Holy Spirit in us guide us and lead us to the true and meaningful confession. The multitude who went to St. John the Baptist were not blessed with the Holy Spirit, still they obeyed what was asked by St. John. We have been blessed to have a counselor in us and let us give heed to the Holy Spirit, our counselor and guide.
In verse 9 we read, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Let us try to understand that this caution or exhortation is for us also. Our Lord tells us that He is the real vine and we all are the branches in the true vine. He wants us to give good fruits. Let us make sure that we are based in Him and our life starts from Christ our Lord and God. If we are not based in Christ, we cannot produce fruits from us. We must take care of us not to put into the fire. Let us be serious about all these truths.
When the multitude listened St. John, they asked him, what shall we do? (Verse 10) This is the good positive approach. And many of us often miss this nature as we are basically interested in something else of worldly fame or riches. Whenever we might get a chance to look into our personal lives, let us ask our Lord God, “What is to be done from our part”. Immediately He will advise us to repent. We might be getting an answer similar to the answer given by St. John the Baptist. In verse 13 we listen, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you”.
We have been blessed to have the Holy Confession to correct us and to lead a righteous life. Let us make use of the facilities granted to us to have a blessed life in Him and with Him. May God bless us all.
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