by: Fr. Ren Ligeralde, CJM
John the Baptist preaches repentance, that is to say, to go back to God. This repentance ought to produce good fruits (Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.). Repentance is not merely avoiding sin. It entails something more. True repentance, after acknowledging one’s sin and ask for forgiveness, one ought to do something good to one’s neighbor.
To be a Christian is to love God and neighbor. It is not an assurance to earn a ticket to enter the kingdom of heaven (And do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our Father.”). Being a Christian, that is, a believer of Jesus Christ, is a way of life that helps a person to live a life that is based on the teachings and examples of Jesus. Imitating the life of Jesus, meaning allowing Jesus to be formed in the heart, would lead a Christian to repent and produce good fruits.
Allowing Christ to be formed in the heart of a Christian means allowing the spirit of the Lord to rest upon him/her, giving him/her the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and justice (Rom 13). The spirit of the Lord will lead a person back to God.
Our God is a God of salvation and not of wrath. That is why God forgives our sins. There is no sin that God could not forgive. How can a good God, who promised salvation and the gathering of His people, would destroy the whole humanity? If He is going to destroy His people, then, who will be save? We have to repent and let God be God. This prophetic message of John is a reminder that it is time for the people of God to repent and go back to their origin – God.
Prayer: O God of goodness and forgiveness, bless us with your grace of repentance. Allow us to be humble enough to acknowledge our sins, to ask for forgiveness, and to change our life so that we could do something good for others. We ask these through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.