My Beloved the benevolent December 2018
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
It is my delight to congratulate you on the start of the blessed month of Kiahk. The month of Kiahk is a month of preparation to receive Our Lord born in Bethlehem. The month of Kiahk is a month of praises and the blessed Kiahk all-nighters.
The Sundays of Kiahk offer us the story of the Nativity starting with the Annunciation of John the Baptist on the first Sunday and the Annunciation of Our Savior on the second Sunday, then the visit of St. Mary to Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother’s womb during this visit. Thus, this blessed visit is the subject of the third Sunday’s Gospel. And on the fourth Sunday, the Gospel is about the birth of John the Baptist and we notice that John the Baptist is mentioned in the Gospels of the four Sundays. In the first Sunday is the annunciation of his birth, the second Sunday the angel mentions to the Virgin that Elizabeth is pregnant with a son in her old age, the third Sunday John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother’s womb, and the fourth Sunday the Gospel is on John the Baptist being born and being named John, thus I would like to contemplate with you on St. John’s ministry.
- John had a specific goal to his ministry, the angel specified to his father Zachariah in the annunciation of his birth by saying, “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Lu.1:16-17 As Isaiah prophesied about his ministry by saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness; Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Lu. 3:4-6
- Preparing the way of the Lord is accomplished by inviting people to repentance, thus the basis of St. John’s ministry was to invite people to repentance and his baptism was a baptism of repentance. The repentance that John the Baptist called for was practical repentance. Repentance that is accompanied by a true change in a person’s behavior, not just words and emotions. Thus, he would say to the multitudes that went to be baptized, “Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father: for I say to you, that God is able to raise up children to Abraham of these stones “Lu.3:7-8.
- Giving to the needy is a sign of repentance and change, a person who is tied to the world wants to collect for himself worldly treasures and is not satisfied with what he has. But a spiritual person is satisfied by what is sufficient and gives what is excess of his needs to others. Thus, St. John the Baptist put this principle in clear statements, and the Holy Bible says, “So the people asked him, saying “What shall we do then?” He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Lu. 3:10-11
- Giving should be of money that is not the fruit of extortion, thus when the tax collectors went to be baptized and asked John the Baptist, “Teacher what shall we do?” He did not ask them to give, but not to oppress, because the sin of the tax collectors was to collect taxes more than what is allotted, thus John the Baptist told them clearly and truthfully, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Lu.3:13
- John the Baptist led the soldiers who terrorized the people with their authority and might to the true power, not by oppression and exploitation of influence, but by humility. Thus, when the soldiers asked him what shall we do? He said, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Lu.3:14
- John the Baptist did not fear Herod the king and mocked him for taking his brother Philip’s wife saying, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Matt. 14:4 and paid his life as a price for honesty in his ministry, for Herod ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. Matt. 14:10
Hoping to have St. John the Baptist as an example in his honesty in ministry, his love to the needy, and in defending the oppressed; and May the Lord bless all your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity Programs.