Good Faith: John the Baptist shows the way
Repentance is the most essential quality of any good faith and a religion that does not insist on repentance is the opposite of religion. That is why John insisted on repentance when he inaugurated the gospel of Jesus and the kingdom that would emerge from this gospel.
By Joe Palathunkal
Today every faith is in crisis because it is identified with whatever is undesirable in a society. Faith is identified with corruption, murder, craze for power, greed, rape, terrorism, vulgar luxuries, exhibition of wealth and glory, triumphalism and the list goes on. Religion was the same in the days of John the Baptist also. And so he said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 3: 2).
Repentance is the most essential quality of any good faith and a religion that does not insist on repentance is the opposite of religion. That is why John insisted on repentance when he inaugurated the gospel of Jesus and the kingdom that would emerge from this gospel. But today faith has turned into a stagnant pool where all the toxic elements get in and fill in every form of pollutants making the religion unrecognizable as the seat of God.
John insistently speaks about repentance because without it the kingdom of God will never be a reality but today religions cannot insist on repentance because it goes for such black deeds that it can never honestly ask for repentance because from top to bottom it has become non-repentant.
Today’s faith is infested with grievous sins that its authorities cannot ask for repentance because all have a share in what is happening. From these faiths nobody can bravely question the Herods because all have a part of Herod in them. Only a John the Baptist can ask questions to such Herods, instead religious authorities of today easily join with Herod and his dancing Salome.
John the Baptist says he has come to prepare the way for the one who is to come as the Way and to be the way, a way for goodness, is the call of every faith but somehow every religion has forgotten this call. John calls the custodians of religions who have become perverts and scandalous the brood of vipers and this brood of vipers have spoiled every faith today.
Those who follow the perverted faith will lead the whole world to the inescapable moral quagmire and the situation has come to such a pass that even a John the Baptist will meet with the same fate that the son of Elizabeth and Zachariah suffered in the hands of Herod.
In the good old days at least quite a few good people came and asked John (Luke 3.10): “What then should we do?” As a long as such a question does not emerge from any faith today, it has no right to call it a good faith. Good faith will definitely listen to John the Baptist: “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.”
John the Baptist wants everyone who claims to be a Christian to bear fruits of repentance including the clergy, religious and all those who are in power. If that happens, then the church will emerge as a good faith in accordance with the vision of this great prophet.
(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)