Second Sunday of Advent

A Harvest of Good Fruit

By Emily VanBerkum

Today’s Gospel presents John the Baptist as a desert preacher declaring the imminence of the Kingdom of God. But there’s a catch. Because the Kingdom of God is at hand, we are invited to respond by heeding Isaiah’s call to “prepare the way of the Lord” in a special way. Preparing the way of the Lord involves repentance for sin in the waters of the Jordan. However, to be cleansed in the Jordan River requires more than simply being sorry for one’s sins. Baptism demands a reorientation of one’s heart and life. Water forgives sin, yet the power of the Holy Spirit and fire produces an eternal harvest of “good fruit.” Good fruit is the result of genuine repentance for sins that do not properly reflect the awesome beauty of God’s Kingdom or hopefulness for the coming of the special healer promised by John.

John’s prophecy of the “one who is coming after me” implies that those who anticipate the coming of the Kingdom with joy and hopefulness will experience the full, complete power of Christ’s incredible gift of salvation. Throughout this Advent season, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about how you will “prepare the way of the Lord” in a way that is meaningful to you. You could move on from past sins and turn to the hopefulness of the future. Or, maybe you will spend some time thinking about making a change of heart that reorients your life as a continual harvest of “good fruit.”