Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to be ready for his Second Coming. It reminds me of John the Baptist preparing us: “Make straight the way of the Lord.” He is saying that his job is to prepare for the mighty coming of the Lord. A change is coming, a revolution is on the way, a disaster (the destruction of the old) is about to happen. Prepare the way of the Lord.
And what is the manner of preparation? It is a baptism of repentance. Baptism—an immersion in water—reminded first-century Jews of the Exodus, passing through the Red Sea, leaving the ways of slavery behind.
And repentance (metanoia)—going beyond the mind that you have. How our minds are conditioned by the fallen world! How our expectations are shaped, stunted by what has gone before. The world of Tiberius and Pilate and Herod and Caiaphas has shaped our imagination. It’s time, John is saying, for a new mind, a new set of eyes, a new kind of expectation. God is about to act!