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Fruitful and Nut-Free

He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance
Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126:1-6; Philippians 1:4-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6

Sermon Week Second Sunday of Advent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 3:3

After the first lecture in a college philosophy course, the professor asked for questions. "What is the difference between learning and wisdom?" a student asked. "Learning," said the professor, is obtained by attending lectures given by others or reading books others have written. Wisdom is obtained by reading the book that is you -- and that is never an easy task, as every minute of the day brings a revised edition of that volume."

In today's Gospel Lesson, we hear once again about how in Luke's words, "The Word of God" came to John the Baptist "in the wilderness." And how "he went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance" (Lk. 3:2-3).

John's mission, Luke tells us, was described centuries earlier by the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah as "a voice crying in the wilderness" (Lk. 3:4).

The voice crying in the wilderness, the voice proclaiming a Baptism of repentance, was the voice of Wisdom. "The promised Messiah is coming," it cried out, "so be prepared!" Get ready! Open the latest revised edition of the book that is you. Read it carefully and critically, and you will discover that it needs radical change: a complete rewrite, a brand-new edition of the book of you. In terms of who you are and what you ought to be doing with your life, the Voice of Wisdom is telling you to change.

A very different voice of wisdom has said, “God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!” We read in Matthew's Gospel, "if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit" (Matthew 3:9). The Gospel truth is that genuine repentance means much more than changing one's mind or feeling sorry for one's sins or telling God we are on His side again.

Fruit-bearing is the sign of true repentance. The evidence of repentance is to be found in the fruit that is brought forth from our lives. Repentance is a positive action -- something that enhances our life and the lives of others.

Time and again, and in many ways, Jesus said, "You will recognize by their fruits [...]


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