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Third Sunday of Advent

December 15, 2018

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

Because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

The Gospel of Saint 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.

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION

For the second week in a row, we find ourselves on the bank of the Jordan River with John the Baptist.  The Gospel shows that his direct and honest preaching was having a significant effect on those who came out to the desert to hear him.  He was encouraging all who would listen to prepare a way for the anticipated arrival of God’s anointed one, the Messiah.  With words and actions, John was:  Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.  And the people were: filled with expectation!

People in all stations of life were embracing his heart-felt words and accepting his baptism of repentance.  So much so, that every portion of the ancient society, tax collectors, soldiers and ordinary folks were all asking: What should we do?

As we navigate these Advent days preparing for the celebration of the beautiful Solemnity of Christmas, what we should do is a very appropriate question.   Phrased in another way, we should be asking ourselves what type of interior disposition and behavior should we be embracing if we truly want to respond to the love God has given us in His Son, Jesus Christthe Good News!

To tax collectors, John said: Stop collecting more than what is prescribed!  For those who have people financially dependent on them, be honest and just in wages and pricing.

To soldiers, John said: Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.  For those who have control over others, do not manipulate or coarse others, or abuse your power and influence.

To everyday people in the crowd, John said: Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.   And whoever has food should do likewise.  Be generous as God is generous.

Allow me to translate John’s directives into sound Gospel counsel during this commercialized time when patience runs thin and tempers flare.  Let us refrain from being so demandingpractice patience.   Let us refrain from making ourselves the center of conversations, and allow others to experience a genuine listening heart!

Let us refrain from waging war by aggressive behavior.  Extortion, manipulation, bullying with emotional and verbal abuse are all acts of violence.  A heart that is open to God manifests itself in contentment, joy and peace.

Let us embrace the Corporal Works of Mercy: cloth the naked; feed the hungry; be attentive to the sick and weak.  The mercy we desire from God must be the mercy freely give to others.

Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life; Christ is the healing and mercy of God; Jesus is the Savior.  In this Way, and in His Way: All flesh shall see the salvation of God!

Prosit,

Monsignor Joseph Marino

 

 

 

 

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