*(Based on Mt 3:1-12)*
It was December in the year 1903.
After several attempts, the Wright brothers – achieved success in getting their “flying machine” off the land.
They were very much thrilled!
They telegraphed this message Katherine, their sister, informing her of the great invention:
“We have actually flown 120 feet! Will be home for Christmas”
The sister was also super-excited.
She rushed to the editor of the local newspaper, to share the great news and showed him the telegraph message.
The editor glanced at the message and said:
“How nice! So the boys will be home for Christmas!”
The Editor had completely missed the big news, isn’t it?
The big news was that “man had flown for the first time in history!!”
>> But he totally “missed the point”!
How often is this our experience too in life – Missing the Important Points and settling for lower ones!
We often fail to give attention to the most important things of life…
… instead, we get carried away by some other less priorities of life!
>> Isn’t it?
Something similar had happened to the people of Israel as well…
>> God had promised them of the coming of the Messiah…
… but they “missed the point”..
… and thus, failed to recognise the Saviour He came!
God had promised that Prophet Elijah of old would return…
… but they “missed the point”…
… and thus, failed to recognize the Prophet when he came!
This is what John the Baptist in today’s Gospel will point out…
… that people “missed the important points” in life!
>> And so he calls them “to repent” and come back to realise and recognize the priorities of life!
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, had come, preaching the message of repentance and conversion of heart (Mt 3:1)
The Gospel of St Matthew says that John the Baptist…
… wore a clothing made of camel’s hair
… had a leather belt around his waist
… had food of locusts and wild honey (Mt 3: 4)
This appearance was very similar to that of Elijah, the Prophet (2 Kings 1:8)
But in their encounter with John the Baptist, the people failed to recognise him as the Elijah “who was to come”
>> They “missed the point”!
And thus John the Baptist came to be …
… finally killed!
Jesus also will echo this aspect when He will tell later in His ministry:
“I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him; but did to him, whatever they pleased” (Mt 17: 12)
John the Baptist realised that the people were “missing the point” with respect to…
… having a false hope in their patriarchal faith
… understanding the law and the prophets
That’s why, he tells the people – quoting the patriarch Abraham and the prophet Isaiah – …
… “Do not presume to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father'” (Mt 3:9a)
… “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths” (Mt 3: 3b)
The people of Israel had perhaps taken for granted…
… that their great heritage – consisting of great patriarchs like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – would be credited to them, for their salvation!
… that the oracles of the prophets – like Isaiah – did not apply to their life and they could go on living a life as they pleased!
But John the Baptist…
>> The fearless prophet
>> The unassuming forerunner
>> The uncompromising martyr
… would challenge them with the Kingdom ‘ringtone’: “Repent!” (Mt 3:2)
All his life would be an echo of this Kingdom Ringtone – “Repent”
… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” of living as per the commandments of the Lord
… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” in failing to recognise the Truth and Power of the Lord
… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” by giving priority to your own whims and fancies of life
Many times in our life, we too “miss the point” in our encounter with the Lord…
>> He gives His Beautiful Word to us…
… but we fail to be encouraged by It and live by It
>> He makes many wonderful promises of assurance and guidance…
… but we fail to live a life of trust and confidence
>> He offers Himself wonderfully in the Sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Eucharist…
… but we fail to derive the necessary fruits from Them
Today, the Gospel invites us, to look at God’s Promises, God’s Word’s and God’s Will…
… and discover the true purpose of it in our lives.
This is more true as we prepare for Christmas…
CHRIST is the BIG POINT of Christmas
… we “miss the point” by giving much priority to only external decorations and festivities
… we “miss the point” by forwarding Advent greetings, but failing to practise them ourselves
… we “miss the point” by commercialising this whole season, and failing to dare to grow spiritually
>> Yes, let us dare not “miss Him”!
May we prepare our hearts to receive His Word as He wishes, in our life…
… and seek to live, in total accord with Him!
*God Bless! _Live Jesus!_*
*- Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS*
*Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS)* – ” _See, this divine lover is at the gate._
>> _He does not merely knock, but He remains there knocking._
>> _He calls to the soul!”_