Reading Reflections Third Sunday of Advent Gospel C

By 11:44 AM

At that time, the crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?"

Some of them had already repented and were baptized. Now they where asking for the more. This should be our question as well, as we prepare for the continuing and final coming of Jesus. This was the question of the rich young man to Jesus. Unfortunately, asking isn’t enough. We have to act on the answer. 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." John called them (and us) to examine our true needs and to share with those who have less. It is not enough to do the minimum, namely repentance and forgiveness, but we must be willing to follow the call to love through providing for the needs of others whenever possible. Will not this be the issue at the Last Judgment when God will say: "What you did or did not do to the least you did or did not for me?" 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." How fairly and justly do we treat others? Ask this question within the context of being judged by God one day.
Again, it is not enough to ask, if we are not determined to act accordingly.
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. John quickly distinguishes himself from the true Messiah who is to come.
The baptism that the Messiah will proclaim will be greater than the one John preached. The latter was a preparation of the former.
John considers himself, in comparison, as less than a servant. For a servant would be the one who unties the straps of the master’s sandals.
The Messiah will come as judge separating the good and the bad.
How do we apply this text in our lives today?
Have we been baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire? Are we living out of that context in our daily lives? Are we zealot for the kingdom of God under the lead of the Holy Spirit?

                   How attentive are we to our own baptismal life and the grace of Confirmation?
                   To what extent do we witness these graces in our lives to others?

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