This week our country calls us to vote. We have had various political parties making incredible promises in a very nice and heart-warming way. But today we meet someone who is no politician, whose words were challenging and uncompromising. He uses strong language as the Pharisees and Sadducees discover in todays gospel. He told his listeners to repent, to turn their lives around, to become new people. He told them to get ready for the coming of the reign of God. Now the extraordinary thing is that rather than being put off by this tough talk the people welcomed it. In fact, they journeyed out into the inhospitable desert to listen to him. They stepped forward to confess their sins and be baptised in the Jordan. They saw that unlike other religious leaders and politicians, John spoke with real authority. He was not interested in promoting himself but only in promoting God’s word and in pointing people towards God. So, they took his message on board. They listened to him, they heeded him, they were baptised and turned their lives around. John the Baptist’s uncompromising message is directed to each one of us today. We must repent, change whatever in our lives need changing, so that we will be ready to celebrate Christmas well.