What should we do? Advent reflection on Luke 3:10-18

What should we do? Luke 3:10-18

“What should we do?”. 

Three times in this gospel that this one and same question was raised to John the Baptizer.

First, by the crowd; second, by the tax collectors; and finally, by the soldiers.

After the many exhortations and astonishing proclamations of John, the people were left with anxiety. Terror seemed to have surfaced in the hearts of the people in every place. They panicked and were greatly alarmed. Then, all became very eager to hear John’s answer to their question “What we should we do?”

In response, John said to them, “Share your cloaks and your food to the person who has none. Stop collecting excessive taxes. Do not practice extortion. Do not falsely accuse anyone. Be satisfied with your wages.”

The important role of John the Baptist

Why does John need to be in the scene, anyway, when Jesus could actually come and stand before us without introductions of any sort?

Experience tells us that whenever a special guest is expected to visit our home, we all grow over excited, tensed and oftentimes restless. We are very anxious in preparing the best for our guest. We want to know his preferences in food, drinks and other delicacies. We are eager to know his kind of ambiance, his favorite color and his kind of music. We want ready everything that would please our guest.

In this gospel, the need for John’s appearance before Jesus’ coming is explained. Jesus, through the Baptizer, made it easy for us to know how can we best prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming.

Jesus is our King, with all royalty and majesty. In spite of this, he remained a gentle King. Instead of being a hard guest, He has sent a precursor to tell us everything we should do. John told us how exactly to please our King when He comes.

So, what should we do?

Advent begins our every year as one Church. Oftentimes, we think, we already know what to do to spend advent meaningfully. Oftentimes, we assume we are so familiar with the season, realizing later on that we do not know exactly what to do. It is therefore, necessary that a certain John appears and reminds us during this time of preparation in advent.

Seeing John’s inevitable role, we, therefore, understand that we have to do some preparation for our Lord’s coming. We have to wash ourselves clean of sin. We have to pray more and give more. We have to practice justice, generosity and compassion. We have to make our hearts a worthy dwelling place for our Lord in every way. And if we have done all of it, we can ask further, “What is it that we still need to do?”. Certainly, there is something more!

In this busy world, this might just be another advent. This might just be another Christmas that will come and go very swiftly. What else should we do in order to make our advent a true season of welcoming our Lord more worthily? What are the new invitations of advent and Christmas for our spiritual life?

One mightier is coming to give new life

John concluded his preaching by saying that his is just a baptism of water. The One mightier than him is coming to baptize with the Spirit and fire.

Indeed, all these preparations are useless if they don’t lead us to a deeper understanding of our baptism in Spirit and fire. John’s exhortation was for us to clear our way and open it wide for Jesus. Because Jesus is coming to dwell in us and give us a new birth, a new baptism, a new life in the Spirit.

To where are all these preparations and advent practices leading us? Why do we pray more? Why do we give more? Why do we serve more in our churches? Why do we offer sacrifices? Are all these leading us to a new life in Christ?

Are we ready for the new life?

Well, we better be.

 

What should we do? Advent reflection on Luke 3:10-18

 

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God bless.

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