The prophet Isaiah presented a vision of the world where all people are treated with justice, nature is in harmony, and all peoples worship the one true God. That’s not what we see around us, but the Messiah, the one anointed with God’s spirit, will bring it to pass. St. Paul wrote to the Romans that such Old Testament passages were written for their instruction and encouragement, with a result that the Church should experience harmony and unity in worship, as well as the recognition that all peoples – Jews and Gentiles – are welcome in the Church.
St. Matthew tells us about the ministry of St. John the Baptist, who proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He was the immediate forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah, who was about to establish the kingdom of God. The message to repent means much more than a call to feel sorry for sin. The key element of repentance is not remorse but a change of life, forsaking evil and amending one’s life. We also are challenged to repent and to put God’s kingdom at the center of our lives as we evaluate our use of the time, talent, and treasure entrusted to us.