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 threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Mt 3:1-12
Motto: “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.” Obviously, repentance is not simply a feeling; a feeling of being unworthy, a feeling of being depressed and of being unable to act. It is necessary that I recognize my wrongdoing. Even Wikipedia holds that we can only speak of repentance if the person who has committed a sin, acknowledges that their previous act was wrong. When a prophet or a moralist attacks our sins, it is a criticism of society; it is not about the self-realization of an individual or the correction of our self-image. In the Hungarian language repentance means ‘bűnbanat’. ‘Bűn’ means ‘sin’. According to linguists the verb ‘bán’ originally derives its meaning from ‘baj’. ‘Baj’ means trouble, evil, harm and misfortune. Of course, the modern word has more meanings than that. Apart from the objective negative assessment the verb ‘ban’ also includes a feeling of regret and various shades of feeling responsible. The believer does not only measure up the damage for society but also takes into account the relationship between human and God. The believer first regrets that he had damaged the relationship with God. John the Baptist goes a step further and would like to take us with him. What goes on in our interior should influence our relationships. This is what John the Baptist calls the ‘good fruits’ of repentance. Good is what corresponds well with a person’s character, with their work and their convictions. It corresponds well with us, with our faith, with a baptized and converted Christian.
Second Sunday of Advent – 08.12.2019
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