You enter into this world surrounded by love. We will light up at the sound of your laughter and tend to your every need. Everyone wants to hold you, kiss you, and be with you. You are perfect in our eyes and we would never change a thing. Unfortunately, this time only lasts so long. Eventually you and I will both realize that the innocence of your infancy has disappeared. The great human inheritance will manifest itself as the inculpability of your youth dissipates. As perfect as you are in my eyes, the reality is quite different; it is a reality that all of us know too well. As much as you are loved and as much as you wish to love in return, sin will remain. It is a part of this world, however, you were not made for this world. The Father sees your imperfection and continues to call you home, but sin will be in your way.
This week I unite my cries with John the Baptist in hopes of instilling in you a repentant heart and vigilant eyes raised to Jesus. In today’s Gospel we hear John the Baptist cry, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” He implores us to act because something great is inevitable. We must act first because there is something in the way of us becoming citizens of this new kingdom.
We are not perfect, my son, and we cannot overcome the grasp of sin by ourselves. God knows our struggle and He has come to lift us from our imperfection into his great kingdom. But how can He lift us if we do not raise our arms to Him? This is why both John the Baptist and Jesus tell us to repent. We must first recognize that we are not perfect and we cannot overcome this sin by ourselves. Our repentance is not simply a recognition of our shortcomings, but also a great trust in God’s mercy. We trust that when we look up to God with our arms raised, He will respond to us with love. We know that God comes to our aid when we repent because He has come to our aid already in the person of Jesus.
John the Baptist tells us to repent so that we may be ready to receive the person of Jesus. We “prepare the way of the Lord” by repenting so that we may receive Him into our hearts, minds, and souls. It is Jesus who comes in order to lift us from our perpetual state of sinfulness. He will transform us from within and sanctify us so that we may become citizens of the impending kingdom of heaven. However, this begins with us through our act of repentance. We must recognize our need for a savior so that we can embrace Him as He stoops down to lift us into heavenly union.
You were not made for this world and sin is holding you here. Luckily, Jesus comes to make us perfect. With eyes, hearts, and minds focused on Him we can be freed from the chains of sin. Remember, my son, you are not perfect…yet.