What will be the greatest dream of a Preacher?
I think, it will be a good audience, who would listen to his words.
If it is so, John the Baptist should also be rejoicing – because the Gospel describes, there came a lot of people – from Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan – to listen to his preaching.
They all repented on their sins and received his baptism.

Even the Pharisees and Sadducees came to him.
This was something positive for John the baptist.
But we hear that John is criticizing them.
“You brood of vipers “ – John addressed them in that way.

What was the reason behind these words?
Because, they were presuming of higher status.
They were claiming that they were “children of Abraham”-
Yes, it was true. But John was telling, this is only an external fact.
Being the children of Abraham is a great matter too.
But this alone may not bring someone salvation.

Moreover to be the children of Abraham means,
to live according to that special call.
John was criticizing the Pharisees and Sadducees with terrific words,
because he was sure, they were only sticking on to the “Label” of Abraham.
The virtues, righteousness and faith in God that Abraham lived and transferred to the people were missing in these new generation.

John proclaimed “repentance”.
Repentance was not only a spiritual act to demonstrate.
It is a call to think on one’s own life.
John defines it as a readiness to change one’s life and lifestyles.

It is a call to deepen in the faith.
This Faith is not based on some traditions alone.
One should live this faith daily.

Repentance has a continuity: it is clear from the words of John –
“I am baptizing you with water, for repentance”.
The Baptism is a beginning of a new life.
That means this is a beginning to a changed life.

Even though the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to John,
they were not willing to change there lifestyles and
discard certain “higher – status”.
John the Baptist is criticizing these mentality.
Because, he didn’t want on-lookers and listeners.
He wanted people with the desire to change their lives.

In this advent time we too are called to take part in the salvation work.
We are called to enjoy the saving presence of our God.
Yes, we are called to repentance.

We may have great traditions:
we may be living our faith very extra ordinarily.
Still God asks us to repent –
He asks us to think on our lifestyles.
May be we need some more changes and corrections.

This advent is the time to think on our faith and lives intensively.
Let us get rid of our Prides and superficialities.
Let us come closer to God and listen to him.
May this advent bring us some great experience of God.
God bless us all. Amen!

-Thomas Kalathil

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