Today’s gospel puts before us John the Baptist as a model to follow in genuinely welcoming Jesus into our lives. John is in the middle of the story. On one side we have, named, the emperor in faraway Rome, his ‘national’ representative in Judea, his local reps in the regions and the chief priests. The great political and religious figures are there. Then we have John – who is not attracted to any of them, but lives in the remote edges of the desert. No greater contrast! The Romans were great road builders and so in a language people would understand John invites everybody to ‘straighten out’ their approach to God – no more sharp bends or steep inclines. The machines necessary are repentance and forgiveness of sins – to correct the wrong turns that lead us astray. We don’t need to look at the ‘great and the good’ to prepare for Christmas.
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