“Your kindness should be known to all.” Philippians 4:5
Luke the evangelist returns today with what I like to call “Rules of Thumb.” His storytelling centers on the preaching—once again—of our friend John the Baptist who was asked by a restive crowd what people should do to prepare for the Messiah.
John answers them, not as a politician but as a missioner. If you have two cloaks, he says, share one with someone who has none. If you have extra food, give some to the person who has little. Even the dreaded tax collectors asked John for advice. These were predators who routinely bilked people with threats, keeping what they stole. John told them what they probably knew in their hearts: don’t exploit people or harm them; be satisfied with your wages.
“Rules of Thumb” come about when people recognize an injustice and commit themselves to ending it. What better time than Advent to take an inventory of the soul and decide how our baptismal call to serve can guide us in the New Year. Big reforms are always welcome but ending climate change or extremes of wealth may be beyond our personal reach. John the Baptist is saying small-scale changes are meaningful, too. Let charity, especially for the poor, help you do the hard work of day-to-day living.
Friend, when the crowds heard John preach, they were “filled with expectation.” We are filled with expectation, too, because we know the promise of the Christ Child is at hand. May the next two weeks be rich for you in prayer and preparation, and all the small gifts of caring and service that honor your call to mission.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Lance Nadeau, M.M.
Third Sunday of Advent
We long for peace and thirst for justice
O God of Mary, Joseph and John.
Give us the sight to recognize injustice
and the courage to right the wrongs we see.
Help us help others, especially those who
have lost hope and joy of life.
May we build a better world by
being better ourselves.
Even as we await the return of Christ
may we discover anew all the wonders
and miracles with which You have blessed us.
Remove from us, Lord, anything that keeps us
from knowing, loving and following You
more and more everyday.
Fill our hearts with a fervent expectation
of Your kingdom here on earth
beginning with us, here and now.
Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.