3rd Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-18a Philippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:10-18
The reading from Zephaniah and the responsorial psalm exult that “the Lord is in your midst.” They proclaim the presence of God among the people of Israel and foretell the core of our faith the Incarnation. God is not far off. God’s love was manifested in Jesus’ coming as a human person and is present here and now in us. John the Baptist also proclaims the coming of Christ into our midst and reminds us that our lives must change if we are to be ready to welcome the Messiah at his coming.
These scriptures are not unlike the bells that seem to surround us at this time of year. They call us to rejoice. They call us to worship. And they call us to change. One bell in particular, the Salvation Army bell, reminds us that not everyone has experienced God’s saving presence yet. There are many who suffer while others wallow in abundance. “What should we do?” John the Baptist calls us to respond to their need. He calls us to change our ways so that Christ’s saving presence can truly be manifested “in our midst.”
One way to discover what we should do this Advent is to pray the Our Father with extra sincerity and attentiveness. We pray, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.” We commit ourselves to a spirit of trust and forgiveness and ask to be kept from temptation. As we get ready for the coming of Christmas it is good to ask ourselves what God’s will is for us, whom we are called to forgive, and how we are tempted. What should we do so that God’s kingdom might come into our lives more fully this Christmas?
How would John the Baptist reply to us if we asked him, “What should we do?”