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Luke 3:10-18

The Word of God

And the crowds asked John the Baptist, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages." As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Luke 3:10-18
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • John the Baptist lived a life of passionate commitment. His passion for justice and honesty spoke to the hearts of the crowds, tax-collectors and soldiers. His own austerity had the ring of authenticity. It evoked a question from them: what should we do”? He responded with directness and clarity: Don’t cheat, share your surplus, don’t exploit people.
    • At this mid-point of Advent I ask myself today, what must I do to follow you with wholehearted commitment? What is my reaction to John’s words? Does it lead me to want to live a life of justice and integrity?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • John doesn’t ask tax collectors to stop collecting, or tell soldiers to desert. His message is simple: social justice. Share what you have, be honest, do not oppress people. He does not call for heroics. But sometimes heroics seem easier than living humdrum daily life well. How can I bring the divine into my ordinary actions and make my faith a living thing?
    • What must I do to prepare to meet the Messiah?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • For all the austerity of his life, John spoke to people in words they could grasp. It was his austerity that drew people's respect and trust. Here was a man who cared nothing for comfort, money or fame, who could not be bought, and who could speak the truth without fear.
    • Preparing the way for the Messiah is not simply a matter of belonging to the Jewish nation, John insists, but comes about through repentance, through changing the way one thinks and changing one's lifestyle. John gives some practical examples. People should share clothing and food with those who have none as basic expressions of faith. To tax collectors he says, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also ask him, "And we, what should we do?" John replies, "Do not extort money from anyone with threats or false accusations, and be satisfied with your wages."
    • What does my lifestyle say about my faith in Christ? Do I hoard or share what I have with others, especially those who are poor and on the margins of society?

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