Top » ENGLISH » STUDY THE WORD OF GOD » “WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?” by Fr. Linh

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR C

GOSPEL READING: LUKE 3:10–18

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”

Rev. Linh N. Nguyen

 

INTRODUCTION:

In today’s Gospel, three different groups ask John the Baptist for his advice: 1) the crowd, 2) tax collectors, and 3) soldiers. They ask him: What should we do?” When asking this question, they are wondering how to prepare the way of the Lord. John has some very good and practical advice for them.

 

GOSPEL BACKGROUND:

The crowds asked him, What then 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.

 

The people who respond to John the Baptist’s call to repentance are “the crowd.” These anonymous people come to seek John’s counsel about what they need to do. John does not recommend better observance of the law, but rather greater acts of generosity especially for those who are in need of life’s essentials: clothes and food. John is calling them to overcome any selfishness by reaching out to others in need.

 

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.

 

Tax collectors were notorious for their dishonesty. Romans gathered funds for their government by farming out the collection privilege. Tax collectors were among the most despised people in all of Israel. The Jews felt they were being betrayed by these men who worked for the enemy. They earned their own living by adding a sizable sum to the total and keeping this money for themselves. John advises them to guard against greed: 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.”

 

John’s powerful message even reached soldiers. These were probably not Roman soldiers, but Jewish soldiers who served to help keep the peace. Like the tax collectors, they stood in a separate and privileged position over the common people, capable of using their power for good or for taking advantage of people. So when the soldiers asked what they should do, John told them to quit some of their activities – such as extorting money from people and accusing people of things they did not do. As with the tax collectors, they were told to control their greed by being content with their pay.

 

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah.

 

John inspired and converted many of his listeners as they came to be baptized. Some people even wondered if John might be the expected messiah. John quickly dispelled this misunderstanding by stating loudly and clearly his unworthiness.

 

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.

 

John’s baptism with water only symbolized the washing away of sins. His baptism coordinated with his message of repentance. His baptism was a sign of genuine preparation for a repentant to welcome the coming Messiah and receive his message and his baptism. John was pointing out how insignificant he was compared to the one more powerful who was coming. The coming Messiah “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.

 

Winnowing” is often used in the Bible to picture God’s judgment. John spoke of repentance, but he also spoke of judgment upon those who refused to repent. Those who refuse to live for God are chaff. By contrast, those who repent their lives are like wheat.

 

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

John’s message demanded at least three specific responses:

1. Share what you have with those who need it.

2. Whatever your job is, do it well and with fairness.

3. Be content with what you are earning.

 

John had no time to give comforting messages to those who lived careless or selfish lives. He was calling the people to right living. What changes can you make in sharing what you have, doing your work honestly and well, and being content?

 


This article was published on Thursday 10 December, 2009.

Back to main topic: STUDY THE WORD OF GOD
ADULTERY
THIS POOR WIDOW PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS
CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY
YOU SAY I AM A KING
BASILICAS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
CHRISTMAS
YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND
GOD’S PROMISES IN ADVENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF ECUMENISM
WE NEED ADVENT!
WE SAW HIS STAR AT ITS RISING AND HAVE COME TO DO HIM HOMAGE
EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US!
THE BLIND BOY AND HIS SIGN
EPIPHANY
WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED
ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD
GOD KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS BORN
GOD IS LOVE
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
“THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME.”
THE LAST EIGHT DAYS IN THE ADVENT SEASON
HIS PARENTS FOUND JESUS SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS.
MARY – “MOTHER OF GOD”
WHETHER THE BLESSED VIRGIN SHOULD BE CALLED THE MOTHER OF GOD?
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
WHETHER THE BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS FROM GOD
WHETHER IT WAS FITTING FOR CHRIST TO BE BAPTIZED WITH JOHN’S BAP
JESUS TURNS WATER TO WINE

Current Reviews: 0
Write Review
Tell a friend
Tell a friend about this article:  

 
 

Articles
New Articles
All Articles
All Topics
 ABOUT FR. LINH
 ENGLISH -> (266)
 ESPAÑOL -> (274)
 TIẾNG VIỆT -> (540)
 H.Y. NG. VĂN THUẬN
 Đ.C. NG. VĂN NHO
Articles RSS Feed

Quick Find