Matthew 3: 1-12
We know how important it is to repent - which means to feel true sorrow for something we purposely did that was wrong. We also know what "at hand" means. Something that is "at hand' is close by, within reach.
In today's Gospel, John the Baptist tells people to "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Today, we know that God's kingdom is in our midst. It is already here. By His life, death and Resurrection, Jesus established the reign of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet, we remain very limited in our humanity; we fail to love in this kingdom where love rules everything. And when we fail to love, we repent.
So what in the world is John the Baptist's message for us today -- 2,000 years after the coming of the Messiah?
His message is exactly the same: Repent! He says that "every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into fire," that we are to produce good fruit as evidence of our repentance. The good fruit of repentance is humility, compassion, charity and great love.
John's message was important 2000 years ago, and it remains of utmost importance today. In fact, it's absolutely critical today. John the Baptist is a prophet whose words we hear during these weeks of Advent and heed every single days of our lives.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to see our need for repentance. With your grace, we can repent and spread God's kingdom, where you live and reign forever. Amen.