Gospel – Matthew 3:1-12
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.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
523 St.John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High,” John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
From “The Visible Face of the Invisible God” Testimony of Catalina Rivas (Chapter 1:8-10, 12, 14, 16)
8) As on other occasions, Jesus started showing me well detailed images, scenes of His life, teaching me with enormous patience, and instructing me as well as encouraging me to not be afraid of witnessing before man about His teachings.
9) I saw Jesus walking towards a place where there were many people. He was on His way to be baptized by that stern Prophet who spoke in a new language, and who would admonish, yell, soften his voice, and then act stern again.
10) It was John, baptizing people and calling them to conversion. Jesus had nothing for which to repent, but He wanted to participate from this act by which the people were cleansed from their sins. Then Jesus said to me: “When I felt that My time had arrived, after having spent many hours in prayer, in the moving and always new Hypostatic Union of which we will speak later on, I decided to go to Galilee in order to be baptized by John in the Jordan River.”
12) Jesus had sat down under a tree on the highest part of the road that went down to the river in order to watch the scene and to listen to John. The Lord felt deep tenderness for that poorly dressed man who was shaking men’s consciences.
14) The Baptism administered to them by John at this time, was a kind of vestment or protective mantle; a divine bath which changed their sin-stained vestments as they repented and allowed themselves to be submerged in the waters of the Jordan.
16) Jesus said to me: “I will educate you a little: Baptism, which is part of the Salvation process, and is an act of Faith, is a way of showing publicly that you believe in God and His Word, and that you are willing to forsake the life of sin, and to access forgiveness through repentance. Remember: ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Each week we will be presenting a portion of the following Sunday’s readings, and linking it to relevant parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and messages from the Testimony of Catalina. Pay special attention to the italicized underlined sections. This Sunday it is asked, What kind of soil will you be for the word of God? We hope this is inspiring and educational. Any comments you have are certainly welcomed.
Tim Francis prepared this educational program to help you increase your faith and love for the Holy Trinity and our Blessed Mother. His website is http://YouShallBelieve.com