December 16, 2018: Third Sunday of Advent
Reading: Luke 3:10-18
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.
This Gospel follows last week’s where John is described as a voice in the desert, crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” His followers want to know how they should do that. John’s response shows us that each one’s way of preparing for the Lord’s coming into our daily lives will be different. There is no “cookie cutter approach” to spirituality. To find my way requires prayer, discernment and soul-searching.
Spend time this week thinking about how your spiritual life could be strengthened during these days of Advent. Perhaps you need more time for prayer or quiet; perhaps you need to avail yourself of the sacraments more consistently; perhaps a neighbor needs a word or a gesture of kindness.