Third Sunday of Advent

December 16, 2018
Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 9

A Reading for the Gospel according to Luke
LK 3:10-18

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.

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Third Sunday of Advent

In today’s Gospel we continue to experience John the Baptist urging us to conversion. He tells us to give of our abundance, have a sense of integrity in our daily activities, and know who we are and who Our Messiah is. St. Francis de Sales notes:

John the Baptist is too great a lover of truth to be carried away by ambition. He informs those who came to him that he is not the Messiah. He tells us, we must look into our actions, reforming those that are not of good intentions and perfecting those that are.

John the Baptist was a firm rock, a man possessed of unshakable stability in the midst of changing circumstances He has courage to admit who he is. Indeed, he who truly knows himself is not annoyed when he is held and treated for what he is. Surely, it is a sign of great interior conversion when God gives us light to know who we are.

To be a Christian is the most beautiful title we can give ourselves. Yet, it is not enough to be called a Christian. We must live in a way that one recognizes clearly in us a person who loves God with his or her whole heart. One who keeps the Commandments and frequents the sacraments, and who does things worthy of a true Christian.

When we know we are loved, we are compelled to love in return. So it is when we live our life in Christ. The sacred love of Christ presses down upon us in a special way to have us share our abundance with others. Compassion makes us share the sufferings, sorrows and affections of those we love. Mothers and fathers suffer because of the great afflictions of their children. The dearer one is to us the deeper one’s welfare enters into our heart. Whether their welfare is sad or joyful, we commiserate with them. Our goal is to act with only one intention: conforming ourselves to the true image of God in us. For the reason why Jesus came, was to show us our true self in God.

(Adapted from the Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales.)