The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, this message is John’s and it will be taken up by Jesus.
This is good news! This is hope!
The Kingdom of Heaven, is NOT some political entity; it is NOT a way of life dictated by legislation, rules…
It is way of Life guided by the Trinity…a life of mutual compassion, generosity, of justice, of peace. It is a life of unity, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.
It is right here, right now….if we but let go of our current way of living and thinking, if we but place our trust in the way of Christ.
So, it means we do have to change, that is what repent really means. See, I think too often we fall into the trap and believe that repent is to feel shame, guilt, and we strike our breast….
But that is not what John is saying, and it will not be what Jesus said either.
Repent is to change the direction of our lives…it is to recognize where we heading by our choices and actions, then to say we don’t want to fall into that. So we choose the way of Christ, and change the way we live.
Jesus’ baptism will be one of being guided by the Holy Spirit; it will be God’s wisdom that will help to choose right from wrong.
All of us who are baptized have access to this divine wisdom; to make good choices and to avoid the bad.
It is the same wisdom that guided Jesus in his life; by which he healed, by which he taught, and ultimately it was the same divine wisdom by which he accepted the cross and died for us.
And the divine wisdom raised him from the dead…revealing to us that the path to true life is the divine wisdom.
A wisdom that has us see beyond our own selfishness, our own ego, our own hurts, and to see others, to see their needs and to see their own hurt.
A wisdom of forgiveness, of compassion, generosity. A life of giving of ourselves for others; and receiving the life given to us by others.
We so need this. There is so much pain in our community, in our world because too many of ascribe, believe, put our faith in what is NOT of God. We place it in political agendas which are all ego based.
We maintain our anger, and it festers into hate which we then spread throughout with our lies, our gossip, our bigotry.
We maintain our fears and with our love of things, so we possess; and thus people starve, people die of cold because they have no home, no place to warm ourselves.
These sins I hear way too often in the confessional…and, more than I like to admit, I can see them in my own actions.
But Change is right here, right now…it is a hand.
God is calling us and the world to a better place. God empowers us to be changed, so that we can live as God created us; in God’s own image; to live in unity and harmony.
This call for Catholics is made very real in the bread and wine that become the body and blood of Christ.
It is the call for us to forgive…let go of that anger within, the hurt within, and experience the joy.
It is the call to trust…let go of the fear, the need to control everyone and everything, and see the beauty of the world around us.
I have seen the change in people, when they have let go of those wounds; i have seen peace in their eyes.
I have seen the effects of compassion and generosity on others, the happiness it brings.
I have seen the kingdom of heaven breaking forth into their lives…and you know it is a joy to see.