Gospel: Mt 3:1-12
In the course of time, John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea and began to proclaim his message: “Change your ways; the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice is shouting in the desert, ‘Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight!’
John had a leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel’s hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan, as they confessed their sins.
When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptized, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion; and do not think: We have Abraham for our father. I tell you, that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The ax is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.
I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I am; indeed, I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in his hand; and he will clear out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff, he will burn in inextinguishable fire.”
READ: He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.
REFLECT: Jesus was both extremely gentle with simple and sincere people, but also extremely harsh with the arrogant and the hypocrites.
PRAY: Let us ask the Spirit to burn in the fire of his love whatever in us is contrary to the Gospel.
ACT: Examine the way you treat others. Do you know when to be gentle and when to be harsh?