Sunday, December 4, 2016
My Lord says ... Matthew 3: 1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 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.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
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? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. 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. 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. 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. His winnowing fan is in His hand. He will clear His wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
BEING THE MESSENGER AMONG US
In our life, there is always a member of the family or other people who tells us what is right and what is wrong. Each of us can act as messenger of God to each other in order to guide, enlighten, and help our brothers, sisters, parents, friends, relatives, and others who are in need or in trouble. We need to live in righteousness in order for others to follow our good example and live the same way. But there are people who refuse to live in righteousness probably because they lack knowledge or no one cares to tell them, or just plainly being stubborn to accept that what they are doing is wrong. There are also other people who influence us more to do something wrong or just condone the wrongdoings under certain circumstances.
Social influences affect our choices or preferences more than our family does, thereby causing more disagreements and disunity among the family members. It primarily affects our attitudes towards our relationship with each other, thereby loosing respect, trust, and love for one another. We also become helpless in certain situations when a family member doesn’t listen or respect us anymore. In times of trouble, who is really to blame? In times of need, to whom do we go?
My close friend, who is a widow, once cried out to me about her son. She said her eldest son told her that he likes her girlfriend to stay with him or live as husband and wife without getting married yet. Her son informed her that his girlfriend is three months pregnant already. She was really surprised and got mad. At first, she didn’t like to agree, but at the end, she agreed because she took pity of her son’s girlfriend. She lost her job and can no longer work for the meantime because of her situation. Besides, her parents didn’t approve their relationship, so she was cast out by her own parents upon learning her situation. In addition to the problem, her son has no job yet to provide a living for his future family because he hasn’t finished his college studies yet. “This is a terrible problem and I still have other responsibility to my other children to provide their needs. I’m the sole breadwinner in the family. How can I handle this” my friend complained.
As a friend, it was so hard to judge her decision regarding her eldest son. Though her heart is full of compassion, she really doesn’t like to tolerate her son’s wrongdoings. I just left her house with a heavy heart, too, but promised to pray for her and offer his son a job, if there is available in my other friend’s company.
" I will sing of your salvation. In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust, O God from my youth. On you I depend my birth; from my mother's womb, you are my strength. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds."
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a