On this the third Sunday of Advent, we will listen to the crowds as they ask John the Baptist how they should prepare for The Lord. He was asked by many people, not just the people on the streets but tax collectors, soldiers, just everyone wanted to be baptised and to be ready for their Lord. Yet, as we listen to his answers, we can imagine the surprise that his listeners may have felt; for John doesn’t tell the tax collectors to stop collecting money, nor does he tell the soldiers to quit their jobs, instead he tells everyone the same. Live humbly, live kindly, do what you need to do, don’t cheat, don’t extort.
John himself lived a very humble life, he didn’t wear fine clothes or charge massive amounts for his appearances, instead he went around paving the way for the coming of Our Lord, knowing that he himself wasn’t even fit to touch the feet of his Saviour, nevertheless he worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was ready.
So, this Sunday, as we listen to the Gospel, let us refine our own Advent preparations. Let us take a moment away from the shopping lists, menu plans and invitations and think about how we prepare ourselves for God. In fact, John’s message is a hopeful one – we don’t need heroics. God doesn’t expect us to save lives, give millions or travel the world preaching; instead He has a simple message for us. If we have more than we need, give some away; if we work, do our job fairly and honestly; if we want someone to do something for us, let us find the kind and encouraging way to make that happen. Of course, some of us will be heroes (perhaps all of us can be a hero to someone or something) but if we only live as Jesus would wish then our lives will certainly be filled with peace and joy.
Luke 3:10-18 (ESV)
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.
Did you know that every week we send home The Wednesday Word? This is your chance to read the Gospel for the coming Sunday together as a family – we send it home in a child friendly format and it includes activities and puzzles and ideas for discussion and prayer.