Gospel Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent – December 16th 2012
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do, then?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same’. There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate’. Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise 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 in a fire that will never go out.’ As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.
This mid-point of Advent alerts us to issues of justice and equality. The prophet John has been asked as a sort of trick by people who exploited others with tax bills, and soldiers who often used their brute force on others, how they should repent. His words were tough but quite ordinary – don’t overcharge, share your surplus with the needy and don’t exploit people. It’s another, but more figurative way, of stating the basic demands of ‘Love one another’.
Brings Out Our Best
Christmas can bring out the best in us to care for the needy. We are surrounded by charities looking for aid. We know that Jesus hears the cries of the poor, and he joins every carol singing group trying to help.
Challenge to Greed
Christmas also asks us to consider our honesty and integrity, for we know that many are poor, at home and abroad, because of the greed of others. Christmas is a reminder and a challenge that all can live with the human dignity we have come to regard as human rights – education, safety, shelter, food, water, employment, freedom. The Christ child who was born poor represents all the poor of the world especially children. As he was born ordinary, he represents that God meets, greets and helps us in the ordinary of life.
The one who is to come is the one who will live and love according to these truths of human dignity and equality.
Come, Lord Jesus, child of the earth, child of God.
Come into our world of joy and sorrow.
Stay with us always, now and at the hour of our death.
Donal Neary SJ
This entry was posted in Gospel of Luke, Gospel Reflection, Liturgy Resources, Prayer Resources, Scripture and tagged Advent Faith, Donal Neary SJ, Gospel Reflection, John the Baptist, Luke 3, praying at Advent, Spiritual preparation for Christmas.