Gospel LK 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.
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your Love.
“What should we do?” Crowds are pressing in on John the Baptist, and they are asking one question; “What should we do?” John the Baptist responds it appears very peacefully, even ‘paternally.’ He answers quite simply without extremes, yet he is a man of extremes; discipline asceticism, simplicity of life and prayer.
The words that well up in my heart in this Gospel are: Justice, Responsibility and Beauty.
Justice: Let us watch the ‘groups’ that approach the Baptist: Crowds, Tax-collectors, and Soldiers come to him. Watch John, what does he do? Does he reject, chide or brush them away? What is his response to the tax collectors, does he tell them to stop collecting? And the Soldier what does he tell him? The word that rises in my heart is Justice. Giving what is right and due is a virtuous action. There is no extreme we see here in this passage, just a simple ‘orienting’ of the heart, to the good intention. That being, justice. Giving what is right and due, before God and to the other. He is turning their hearts, from how they are living which is skewed, unto travelling the journey straight!
Responsibility: There is a ‘responsibility’ we all have in our respective vocations, as children of God. That responsibility is, to live in Justice, living what is right and due before God in my respective vocation, right now. Our words hold value and have credence if we are living our vocations fully. There is something in John the Baptist that must too ‘arrive’ in our hearts, this genuine living out of one’s vocation in God, so that others may find in us an ‘oasis’ for truth. Each one of us has a responsibility to point the way…when asked by others….the path of justice before God and with others. We have the responsibility to receive, never rejecting another human being but loving them and pointing the path to God.
Beauty: When I look at John the Baptist I think no matter how rugged, rough or obtuse he was, he had to be incredibly attractive becaue of His goodness of heart. The people thought that perhaps he was Jesus- why? What about Him, left them wondering? I think it was ‘Beauty’ yes…Beauty. He must have had a type of transparency about him that was luminous. And the goodness of his heart, but have shown through him and left others drawn to him. When we live our lives ‘right’ before God (justice) and with others (charity) beauty of soul radiates and this ‘Beauty’ is the Divine Life within us.
Questions: Where in my life am I not living what is right and due in my respective vocation? Am I ready to change with the grace of God? Where in my life am I shirking the responsibility to further the kingdom of God? What is God putting in my path, just in the normal course of life, that is calling me into a response of Love? Do I point others to Jesus?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have Mercy on me a poor sinner, help me Lord to live one with your laws out of Love, for I love you Jesus. Amen