Sunday, December 17, 2006

Third Sunday of Advent

In the stress that is the holiday season, we often forget just what it is that we are celebrating as part of this time of year. No one knows for certain when Jesus Christ was born, but this is the time of year when Christians everywhere celebrate that birth. When we concentrate too much on the shopping and the decorating and the preparation and not about the purpose and the reason for this season, we lose sight of our purpose and role in this life and in the world.

Everyone has some idea of their own what this season is all about. For the non-Christian, they may say that the season is (or should be) about the joy of giving and of carrying an attitude that is more considerate of others and less considerate of oneself. On this score, the many people who believe this are not far from the truth. Why are we called to behave in this way, and reminded of this at this very critical time of the year? Perhaps St. John the Baptist has the answer for us:

Luke 3:10-18:

And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do?

And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner. And the publicans also came to be baptized, and said to him: Master, what shall we do? But he said to them: Do nothing more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay. And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ;

John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. And many other things exhorting, did he preach to the people.

As John spent his life pointing the way to Christ, so must the followers of Christ do the same when we interact with others. Whether that interaction takes place in the grocery store, at one's place of work, in a house of worship, on the street, or on the internet, those made in God's image are called to point the way to God.

In the season of the Incarnation, we remember the birth of the one who made the lame walk, caused the blind to see, and preached dignity and worth to the poor and the downcast. Like John, Christians today should point the way to Christ.

Advent Reflections



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