THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
“The people were filled with expectation.” This phrase is the canopy over today’s Gospel text. Like squealing children jumping up and down when they see the mound of packages under the Christmas tree everyone is asking, “Is John the one? If he is, what should we do? What should we do?”
John doesn’t hold back when he answers them. “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Wake up to the suffering around you and personally respond to it. And don’t be cheap about it. You only need one coat – give the others away!
Tax collectors! Stop collecting more than what is prescribed! The time calls for honesty. Stop cheating one another. Your honesty must be a beacon of light in the workplace. And whatever you do, don’t rip off the poor!
Solders! You have a great deal of power. The time calls for a pure heart. “Do not practice extortion! Do not falsely accuse anyone! Be satisfied with your wages.” Power calls for great responsibility. Use your power constructively for the benefit of all. Don’t use it as a weapon to lord over others. Humility, truth and justice are the foundation of true power. In the new time, “he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” In the new time, power must be baptized in love.
This third Sunday of Advent rings with joy and hope. John the Baptist announced the coming of the new time a long time ago. But we mustn’t forget that the time John announced is as alive today as it was in his day. We need to ask, “What should we do?” We need to open our hearts to the purifying fire of the Spirit. We need to let the new time dawn through us.
What is it we should do today?
Come Holy Spirit. Baptize me in the healing fire of your love. Wash away all the darkness of the world that clings to my heart. Give me the strength to follow Jesus, to be his disciple in spirit and truth. May I labor in your vineyard with my heart pure, and my spirit resting in your comfort. May I always be a voice that cries, the kingdom of God is at hand.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)