Bible Passage related to the Mystery: Matthew 3:1-8, 11, 14-17
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad?ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance.”
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Lord Almighty foretold through the prophet Isaiah about a witness who will reveal the Messiah to the world. If we reflect on the birth of John the Baptist, we will see how the Lord prepared him so that he could introduce Jesus to the world and proclaim the descent of the Kingdom of Heaven. John had the anointing of the Holy Spirit when Blessed Virgin Mary visited and greeted Elizabeth his mother when he was a baby in her womb. John remained faithful to the call of the Holy Spirit by living the life of a prophet. He was simple and served the Lord with dedication. The Lord blessed John’s service by sending people to him all around the river Jordan. They confessed their sins and were baptized. One of the acts of mercy is to admonish sinners. John was bold in telling even the powerful people of his age to bear fruit that befits repentance. He was never political nor aspired for it. He was zealous for God and knew his responsibility towards each soul even if they belonged to different strata of the society. John was not carried away by the fame he had among the people. In all humility, he accepted the Supreme authority of God. He was human and all humans are weak. But only Jesus can baptize us with the Holy Spirit. It was direct obedience to the salvific plan of the Father. He had come to earth for it and He had been preparing for it since His childhood. We can understand this from the episode of finding Jesus in the temple when He was 12 years old. He was obedient to His parents. He increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man, the Heavenly Father was well pleased.
- In the areas where I am called to minister, do I prepare and live truthfully as John the Baptist did and testify Jesus fearlessly?
- Am I fearless to live the gospel and identify myself as a child of God?
- Am I seeking my glory when I work in the vineyard of the Lord?
- Do I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the approval of the Heavenly Father and Jesus in prayer when I prepare, plan and start the mission?
I could study formal catechism in Hindi only till the age of first Holy communion. There were other priorities which took hold over my life. By the grace of the Heavenly Father, at the age of 17, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit in a charismatic retreat at college. My interest in God, the bible and the church kindled. The Holy Spirit gave me a thirst for scripture and I started following sermons of priests at daily mass and retreats. I did not study the Malayalam language at school. I learned the alphabets from an elementary book. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, I started reading the Bible in Malayalam. I learned the language through the Bible. I learned to live out the scripture that I learned by joining the CFCI community and living in fellowship. I desired more for the Holy Spirit and I was blessed even more with His graces. Today I understand how little we know and how much more we need to ask the Lord to anoint us with His Holy Spirit.
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.”
~ Acts 4:24-30
Virtue to learn from Mother Mary for the day: Diligence