There is an aura of joy about today’s readings; in the first, the people are told to: “Shout for joy” and mourn no more, for salvation was coming. Isaiah was prophesying about a time when the people had repented and returned to God, and He had forgiven them, making a “Covenant of peace” with them which would never be shaken. His only requirement was that the people had faith in Him.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus commends John, who had been the “greatest of all the children born of women”, because he had known what God wanted and had not been afraid to preach it. He had been the person bridging the gap between the Old and New Testaments, showing people the first step of the new order: repentance and baptism. Yet, those coming after who accepted the teaching of Jesus would be in a greater position than John because they had faith, having learned the truths of the Gospel, and were to benefit from the Sacrifice of the Cross.
The reading ends with a warning to the Pharisees, who had been too proud and too convinced of their righteousness to receive baptism from John. They had not realised that this was how God was leading His people at this time; they were “Thwarting God’s plan”.
Let us pray that we will always be open to change our ideas to do whatever God asks of us.