The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. Mark 1:15
God of all peoples,
whose servant John came baptising
and calling for repentance:
help us to hear his voice of judgement,
that we may also rejoice in his word of promise,
and be found pure and blameless in that
glorious Day when Christ comes to rule the
earth as Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.
- Isaiah 11:1-10
- Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-21
- Romans 15: 4-13
- Matthew 3: 1-12
- Isaiah 35:1-10
- The Song of Mary
- James 5:7-10
- Matthew 11:2-11
A Thought to Ponder
Advent 2 – Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching the desert: “I am baptising you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptiser makes his appearance this Advent season, preaching a baptism of repentance and conversion of life.
Matthew’s details about John’s appearance are intended to recall the austere dress of the great prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1: 8). The Jews believed that Elijah would return from heaven to announce the long-awaited restoration of Israel as God’s kingdom. For Matthew, this expectation is fulfilled in John the Baptiser. Through the figure of the Baptiser, the evangelist makes the “Old” Testament touch the “New.”
Matthew reports that John strikes a responsive chord in the people who have come from throughout the region to hear him at the Jordan River. He has strong words for the Pharisees and Sadducees who step up for his baptism but have no intention of embracing the spirit of conversion and renewal to make their own lives ready for the Messiah who comes.
In proclaiming the Messiah’s “baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire,” John employs the image of a “winnowing-fan.” A “winnowing-fan” was a flat, wooden, shovel-like tool, used to toss grain into the air. The heavier grain fell to the ground and chaff was blown away. In the same way, John says, the Messiah will come to gather the “remnant” of Israel and destroy the Godless.
In our own baptisms, we take on the role of prophet of Christ: to “proclaim” in our ministries, in our compassion and our kindness, in our commitment to what is right that Jesus the Messiah has come.
John’s message calls us to “live” our baptisms every day of our lives, growing in the “knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11: 9) and living as “wheat” rather than lifeless straw (Matthew 3: 12).
Advent is the season for realising Isaiah’s vision of the “peaceable” kingdom: for seeking common ground, for recognising the humanity we all share and building upon our common interests, values and dreams.
You can read the Pew Sheet here15b04-advent-2-a-2022