Voices ever ancient, ever new. Sunday-AdventTwo-2013.

“I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)

In commenting on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass, Chromatius of Aquileia writes:

“Now we must focus on what is meant by these sandals from the spiritual standpoint. We know that Moses said long ago: “Put off your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” We read that Joshua the son of Nun likewise said, “Remove the latchet from your sandal.” But as to why they are ordered by the Lord to remove their sandals, we must understand this to be the type of a future truth. According to the law, if a man is unwilling to accept the wife of his brother after his brother’s death, he should take off his shoes, so that another may marry her and succeed by right of law. As to the commandment prefigured in law, we find it fulfilled in Christ, who is the true bridegroom of the church. Therefore, because neither Moses the lawgiver nor Joshua the leader of the people could be the bridegroom of the church, not without good reason was it said to them that they should remove the sandals from their feet, because the true future bridegroom of the church, Christ, was to be expected. John says concerning him: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.” To bear or loosen his sandals, John professed himself to be unworthy. The Lord himself through David revealed that these sandals signify the footsteps of gospel preaching when he says, “Upon Edom I cast my shoe”; through his apostles he will take the steps of gospel teaching everywhere.” (Tractate on Matthew, 11)

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia!