This Sunday is particularly associated with St John the Baptist. Here are the opening words of today’s Gospel: ‘In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”’

The word ‘repent’: this strong New Testament word has at its heart the sense of a total change of our inner being, a real ‘turning round’ of the whole person, in an irrevocable choice. The English word ‘conversion’ also holds this meaning, to which sorrow for sin is an integral part.

As Christmas approaches, we may feel drawn to amend our lives, to ‘turn them around’ in honour of the coming Saviour. He will grant us His grace abundantly in this, and come deeply into our hearts. May God bless you this day.