St. John the Baptist was an ascetic Jewish prophet known in Christianity as the forerunner of Jesus. John preached about God’s Final Judgment and baptized repentant followers in preparation for it. Jesus was among the recipients of his rite of baptism.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, “Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
John completed that which he was sent forth to do. You?
John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah, which immediately followed. He issued a call for national and personal repentance, but to a large degree, that call was not truly heeded. The long-awaited Kingdom was hovering, as it were, ready to come as soon as Israel would accept their King, but instead they cried out “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” But God used that rejection as the occasion to open up the door of salvation to the Gentiles, which also had been God’s plan all along.
And we pray:
O Lord, You came preaching the same message of repentance that John the Baptist preached. You cried out “Repent and believe the Gospel!” (Mark 1:15) And even today, The Spirit you sent is crying out that same message whenever the Biblical Gospel is preached. May we respond with continual repentance and growth in faith throughout our sojourn in this world, Amen.