Today's Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12 On almost every major (and sometimes minor) Church feast of the year, my phone rings in the morning hours and I know without looking that it’s my mom. “Happy Feast of Christ the King!” “Happy Feast of the Assumption!” “Happy St. Nicholas Day!” “Happy Feast of St. Anne!” (my patron saint) and the list goes on. Today I would usually expect that phone call, but thanks to the Church's liturgical calendar, we will actually celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary tomorrow. Today, we turn our thoughts to the Second Sunday of Advent. But today’s Gospel passage is somewhat daunting. John the Baptist appears to be screaming at us. He appears angry and upset and maybe even a little bit sarcastic. He is not gently inviting. He is not suggesting. He is commanding us to repent, lest we be thrown into the unquenchable fire. “Even now, the ax lies at the root of the trees…” (cue ominous shudder) Why does he speak this way, with such urgency? Because he knows the truth: “the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” He cries out just as my mom cries out her greetings because they both understand who our Lord and Savior is. The God of all things visible and invisible, the God who loves us and knows our hearts. As we continue to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming, may we also cry out with our hearts and words and actions the goodness of the Lord.


Do I truly realize the greatness of the One who is to come? What can I do to prepare my heart for Him?


Lord Jesus, I rejoice in your nearness to me. Open my heart to Your love.
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