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?” The crowds are all around John the Baptist, asking the question: “What should we do?” John the Baptist is not calling them to something extraordinary but rather to something exemplary; the path of goodness and right. This path consists of a denial of self for the other because it is right and due before God. The tax collectors come to him asking the question: “What should we do?” His answer does not have extreme measures of change, yet, it requires an entire ‘upheaval’ of how they have conducting themselves. He is ‘cleansing their temples’ by calling them into an awareness of something not pure not right before God. Lastly the soldiers ask: “What should we do?” and what does he reply? We hear him stir their hearts to an awareness of the need for a radical change in how they have been conducting themselves.
The word that rises in my heart in all three is Justice. Giving what is right and due before God and to God and to others.
Let us watch the ‘groups’ that approach the Baptist again, watch John, what does he do? What is his response to the crowds, does he chide their selfishness? And the tax collectors, does he condemn them or even tell them to stop collecting? And the soldiers does he reject them? We see John the Baptist almost paternally, ‘reorienting their hearts’ from a skewed manner of living to a path of justice, awakening their awareness of the justice due to God and to the other.
There is a ‘responsibility’ we all have in our lives and respective vocations, as children of God to help another see what is right and due before God. The Voice, (John the Baptist) would never have been asked to speak if he were not first a witness of the very thing he is preaching. We learn from this, the need to first orient my life completely towards God in justice and truth, in humility. If you were among the crowds back then, and could walk up to John the Baptist and look into his eyes and ask him; “What should I do?” What do you think he would say to you? What in your life needs re-orienting from self, to God, from self, to others. What change and reorientation of heart do you think he would call you to?
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