Matthew – John the Baptist

January 11, 2010

The Gospel that Jesus preaches is recounted as being preceded by John
the Baptist, who came in the mode of Elijah and preaching a baptism of repentance. John was a fairly ascetic man, and his coming as a voice
crying in the wilderness heralds the time of the Christ. John’s message
is quite stark, warning that the God will soon make a harvest of souls.

Jesus comes to John to be baptized, but John objects, declaring that he
needs to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus allows Himself to be baptized to
”fulfill all righteousness,” and in doing so, blesses the waters and
transforms them into the waters of the sacrament. At this point, the
Spirit of God descends like a dove and a voice declares, ”This is my
beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus then leaves for the wilderness to be tempted or tested for forty
days and forty nights. Satan tests Jesus, but He beats the devil back
on all counts. When John is imprisoned, Jesus begins to proclaim the
Gospel and seeking out apostles.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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