Prepare: Bear Good Fruit
Can you imagine what it might be like to come face to face with a character like John the Baptist in our world today? Scripture describes John as one who lived in the wilderness, dined on locust and honey, wore a coat of camel hair belted at his waist. I imagine him as a person with long unkempt hair and truthfully I’m not so sure I would want to approach him. And yet, he was the one preparing the world for the “one to come,” the one who would baptize in the Holy Spirit, the one who would secure our salvation. John knew his place; he was not the long awaited Savior, rather he was the voice crying out in the desert demanding that people repent of their sinful ways in preparation to meet the Son of God.
We live in a different day and age, yet we too, need to heed the advice of this disheveled man who challenged even the Pharisees and the Sadducees warning them of the need to produce good fruit as evidence of their repentance, lest they be among the chaff that would burn with unquenchable fire. So how do we repent today? How
do we bear good fruit? As our Church has developed over the past thousand plus years, we have been gifted by the
Sacrament of Reconciliation which allows us an opportunity to come forward in faith to repent and to ask that our sins be forgiven. We are not forced to do so, the choice is ours, but the need to repent belongs to every person for we are all sinners. Though in our heart we want to do the
right thing, our humanity gets in the way and we, like Adam and Eve, fail to live up to what God asks of us. Reconciliation is a gift; a gift that reconciles us to God who waits for our return even after we have rejected him or moved away from him in our sinfulness. We may at times feel as though God is distant from us – if so, we must examine why and how that has happened. To be sure it is not because God moved away; it is because we have distanced ourselves by our actions and words. Left unchecked we may very well, by our own actions or lack of them, risk becoming the chaff that burns forever. The choice is ours.
Can we admit our sinfulness? Will we ask to be forgiven? As baptized Christians we must examine our hearts and be truthful as to how we have failed to live as Jesus taught. Then we must come forward with remorse asking for God’s
mercy and forgiveness. In this we bear good fruit; in this we become the people God intended we be. Let us gather as a community of believers, trusting that
God’s mercy is always present in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I invite and encourage you to come and bring your family to share in the gift of forgiveness at: St. Francis Xavier Advent Penance Service Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – 6:30 p.m.
Come experience God’s unconditional love and mercy. Thanks be to God!
Trusting in God’s goodness,