December 16, 2012: Third Sunday of Advent
The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?”
He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?”
He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people. (Luke 3:10-18)
In this gospel John gives us some very useful ways to be a true follower of Jesus: things like sharing what you have with others who have less; not piling up things just because you like them; being satisfied with what you have in your life. And because John told them these things, they began to think he was the Christ they were waiting for! But John was a very humble man and assured them that he was not the Christ and that one mightier than he was coming and they should welcome him and listen to his message.
It is sometimes hard to know what and who to believe. Here John sounded so much like Jesus that people mistook him for Jesus. In many ways that shows us that the message of Jesus comes to us in many different ways, from many different people.
Take some time to think of who in your life brings you the message of Jesus: your parents, your grandparents, your aunt or uncle, your teachers, the priest at Mass–how do you receive those messages? Do you listen to them? Take time to review the messages about Jesus that you received today.