Gospel Reflection Dec 12 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, December 12
Third Sunday of Advent
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 is now the third Sunday in the Advent season. How is your Advent going thus far? For some it has been the best Advent in many years, for others it has been the most challenging Advent season ever, and for others it’s been o.k.
The message in our readings this week challenge and inspire us to “Be joyful and rejoice.” This is challenging both back in the days of the prophet Zephaniah and for us as well. “Shout for joy, sing joyfully, with all your heart,” and in our responsorial psalm, “Cry out with joy and gladness,’ and from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice!” All of this joy and rejoicing is in the midst of many sorrows, challenges and uphill battles that the peoples of those times were facing. Really in many respects, Hope was all some had.
All of these readings culminate in the Gospel message which is an answer to the questions of John the Baptist followers. John is baptizing people in anticipation of the coming of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the ancient prophets, the One who God the Father promised Adam and Eve would deliver humanity from the slavery of sin, the one who would wipe away all of our offenses, the One who would redeem us as one of us, Emmanuel, God is with us!
The people’s question to John is a valid one, “what do we do?” John answered them by instructing and preparing them for the coming of Christ (similarly to what all religious educators, priests, nuns, sisters, lay people, parents, families do today). Scripture says ”Now the people were filled with expectation.” They were filled with expectation because John prepared them by helping them make straight their crooked paths, so when Jesus did come, they would be ready.
We at St. Brigid offer a variety of resources to help prepare you for a fruitful, faithful and grace-filled Advent season. If your Advent season is off to a great start that’s wonderful. If you would like to start experiencing the graces of the Advent season anew then I encourage you to recommit to the rest of the Season — maybe come to the sacrament of Reconciliation, which wipes away all sins we are contrite for. Regardless of where you are on your Advent journey, may the Joy of Jesus coming to be with us on this earth as one of us, fill our hearts with the same anticipation that John the Baptists’ followers experienced. St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!
Father Tim Lynch