Do not fear. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love. Zephaniah 3:16-17
you sent your Son into a world where the
wheat must be winnowed from the chaff
and evil clings even to what is good:
let the fire of your Spirit purge us of all
corruption, so that, purified, we may wait
eagerly for him whose coming is certain,
whose Day draws near, your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- Zephaniah 3:14-20
- The Song of Isaiah
- Philippians 4:4-7
- Luke 3:7-18
- Micah 5:2-5a
- The Song of Mary
- Hebrews 10:5-10
- Luke 1:39-45
A Thought to Ponder
Advent 3 – Luke 3:7-18
“Whoever has two cloaks should give to the one who has none … Stop collecting more than what is prescribed … Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Today’s Gospel passage is unique to Luke’s Gospel: a summary of the themes of John’s preaching.
The Baptiser is approached by two groups whose professions were scorned by the Pharisees: tax collectors, who usually made handsome profits by gouging their fellow Jews, and Jewish soldiers who belonged to the Roman peacekeeping force. John requires of them not a change of professions but a change of heart and attitude, that they perform their duties with honesty and integrity. John calls for selfless concern for one’s disadvantaged brothers and sisters.
John assures his Jewish listeners that he is not the Messiah; in fact, John considers himself lower than the lowest slaves (only a non-Jewish slave could be required to loosen his master’s sandal strap and John does not presume to do even that).
In proclaiming the Messiah’s “baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire,” John employs the image of a “winnowing-fan.” A winnowing-fan was a flat, wooden, shovel-like tool, used to toss grain into the air. The heavier grain fell to the ground and the chaff blew away. In the same way, John says, the Messiah will come to gather the “remnant” of Israel and destroy the Godless.
Like John’s proclamation at the River Jordan, we are called to be witnesses of God’s love by the love we extend to others; precursors of his justice by our unfailing commitment to what is right and good; lamps reflecting the light of God’s Christ in our forgiveness, mercy, and compassion; harvesters of souls through our humble and dedicated servanthood.
As John preached at the Jordan, we can only welcome the Messiah into our lives when we move beyond ourselves to embrace the hurt and brokenness, the needs and hopes of others; we can only realise the “best” of humanity by taking on greed and arrogance and bigotry that diminish our humanity.
Every of act of compassion, justice and reconciliation is a sign of the “expectation” that “fills” every human heart for the coming of God’s kingdom in our time as well as in the time to come.
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