THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2020
INSTRUCTED BY JOHN THE BAPTIST
December 8, 2019
Today’s gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
John preceded Jesus in preaching about the Kingdom. In his
preaching we find three fundamental ways by which we can be
founded on the Rock that is Christ.
First is repentance. John preached, “Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (v.2). Now this is not
just about repenting for sin, going to confession, sinning
again, and repeating the whole process. This is about a transformation
of life, a total turnaround, a metanoia. It is a
complete change from being of the world to being of the Lord.
It is turning to Jesus in faith and living his designated
way of life. It is living in him, with him and through him.
It is striving to become a new man, made in the image and
likeness of God.
said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “You brook of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good
fruit as evidence of your repentance.” (v.7b-8). Now
the Pharisees were devoted to the law of Moses and the Sadducees
were the priestly class, but they were denounced by Jesus
as hypocrites. How many Christians today seemingly strive
to live religious lives but fail in the weightier matters
of authentic Christian discipleship? One glaring example are
prominent Western public figures who claim to be devout Catholics
but are pro-abortion. And then there are the less glaring
examples, which are all of us.
tells them to produce good fruit. This is personal holiness.
This is authentic discipleship. We too must produce good fruit.
This is manifested in our personal life, in our family life,
and in our community life. One important point: repentance
is a joyful thing. It is not about looking gloomy and walking
with our head bowed down. It is about realizing that by the
grace of God we are acknowledging our shortcomings and are
given the opportunity to change for the better. It is continuing
to walk forward in Christ. It is a means by which be become
more deeply rooted in Christ.
John’s warning: “every tree that does not bear
good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Second is the infilling of the Holy Spirit. We were filled
with the Spirit when we were baptized sacramentally as infants.
Our original sin was wiped away. John says, “I am baptizing
you with water, for repentance” (v.11a). Then we had
sacramental Confirmation. With this, we received a special
infilling of the Spirit to enable us to live Christ and to
share Christ. But we see so many Catholics, both baptized
and confirmed, who are bad people or who are lapsed in their
faith. Or there are even good people but who do not proclaim
need to experience a renewed infilling of the Spirit in their
lives as adults. It is Jesus who baptizes us in his Spirit.
“He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.”
(v.11c). This happened on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit
came down on the disciples as tongues of fire. Then Peter
preached one sermon and 3,000 were converted. From then, the
Christian faith spread like wildfire. Jesus’ disciples
were fired up with zeal for the gospel.
we were baptized in the Spirit (not the sacramental aspect
but the adult experience) when we came into MFC. But this
infilling should not just be a one-time event. We need to
be continually filled with the Spirit. How does this happen?
This comes with unceasing prayer, with study and living out
of the word of God, with reverent reception of Jesus in the
Eucharist, with selfless service in community and Church.
baptism in the Spirit infuses in us zeal for the proclamation
of the gospel of salvation in Jesus. Our Church is missionary.
MFC is evangelistic and missionary. Each one of us is to share
Christ with others. This missionary aspect is what is being
lost, as even our Church is engaged in many different works
but not so much on missionary endeavors. And how many lay
Catholics actually know that they are supposed not only to
live Christ but also to share Christ?
Thirdly, we are to help prepare the way of the Lord. Isaiah
prophesied about John: “A voice of one crying out in
the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight
his paths.’” (v.3). Indeed, we are an evangelistic
and missionary community. With LCSC we help bring back our
Church to her missionary roots. This is crucial work, as we
are today living in a desert of sin and evil.
preach repentance. We bring people into a support environment
where they can be transformed and filled with the Spirit.
And we strive to do this in a massive way, simply because
there are so many to be reached, and people are dying in their
this season we celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world.
But there will be a second coming, at which time the choices
of people will determine whether they go to heaven or to hell.
“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.” (v.12).
are rooted on the Rock that is Christ when we live for him
and proclaim him to the world, so that many more will be saved.