Today and throughout Advent we will be hearing from John the Baptist. Although he lived in the desert and appeared as a rough-hewn character, he was a deeply spiritual and highly sensitive man. He loved God deeply and waited for the Messiah who was to come to save the world. He didn’t know yet that it was Jesus of Nazareth. He used the word “repentance” a lot in his preaching which was the way to prepare for the Messiah. Unfortunately, the image that has be given to us about the word “repentance” is that we must do penance, suffer, and give up a lot of things in order to be ready for Jesus. But the word repentance comes from the Greek word “metanoia,” which simply means “change your mind.” John the Baptist is challenging us to change our minds about God, about Jesus, and about how we are supposed to live. Many of us have grown up with the idea of a very serious God, who would punish us at a moment’s notice if we didn’t live according to His principles. But Jesus came to earth as the Messiah, showing us that God has an eternal smile on His face when He thinks about us, His children. Jesus went further to teach us that even when we go astray, as we all do at times, God never changes His look of love for us. Because we are His children, and like every good parent, loves us even to the point of wanting to die for us. But do we believe this? Many of us do not. Those who do, oftentimes forget it. Meister Eckhart, a spiritual giant of the early Church, once made a statement: “Any talk of God that does not comfort you, is a lie! Do not listen to it!” Isn’t’ that the heart of the Good News, the Gospel! God loves us His children no matter what. Getting back to John the Baptist, John tells us that the way we can change our minds (repent from sin), is to embrace and treasure our Baptism. John said he came to offer a baptism of repentance” and shows us the way to prepare for the Messiah who will “baptize you with His Holy Spirit.” So, my brothers and sisters, Advent is a time to lift up our Baptism to a very high place in our spiritual journey. Let’s change our minds and stop focusing on how imperfect or even bad we are; let’s change our minds so as to change our behavior to open ourselves to the immense love of our Father. Let’s look at the baptism font more often when we enter our church and give thanks for this powerful sacrament!        ~ Fr. John





Parish Office

14 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03103
Phone: (603) 622-5445