Mentor and Leader
In many of the professions there are mentors, especially for beginners. But you may have never suspected of Jesus having one. John the Baptist was Jesus’ mentor. Jesus received baptism from John. From the Gospels we know that John was an important person both historically and religiously. On these accounts John was also part of the story of Jesus. Today’s gospel reading from Luke is about the role of John in the mission of Jesus.
“He (John) went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Lk 3:3-6). Like Isaiah and other prophets of the Old Testament, John preached repentance. He baptised those heeded his message of repentance. Was he actually mopping off their sins? Not really. John was actually calling for a change of heart, a change in their life orientation. John left the pleasures of the world behind to focus whole heartedly on the divine mission. His followers were called to give up all that would be an obstacle for God to enter into their lives. Thus, he prepared the way for God and his Kingdom. Therefore, John’s baptism was a sign of the change in the life orientation. What John did in the Judean wilderness should make us think about our preparedness for God and his Kingdom.
Baptism and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are to pave the way for God and his Kingdom. Christian baptism is a mark of an initiation into the Body of Christ. A baptised person sets apart his/her life for God to work through them. They turn away from all ungodly things. Their lives are founded on Christ and his Church. On the other hand the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an ongoing act of preparedness for God and his Kingdom. Christians confess sins and ask for God’s forgiveness so that they continue to be worthy members of the Body of Christ. But there are bad confessions too. The bad ones think that confessing a list of sins will straighten the way for God in their lives. How wrong they are. Confession of a scrupulous list of sins would not do anything if it is without a real change of heart. A good confession is a conversion experience whereby one resolves to move away from all the obstacles to the Kingdom of God in your life. The biblical imagery of “Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth” (Luke 3:5) indicates a total transformation. That’s what is required for God and his Kingdom to come into our lives. What kind of transformations have you had in your life? What are the obstacles you perceive in your life that is blocking the arrival of God and his Kingdom? Let’s be serious about it this advent, in this time of waiting for God’s coming into our life and into our world.