Week three of Advent 2021
We are the Good News people
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John the Baptist is preaching at the River Jordan. After listening to him, three different groups ask a simple question, “What must we do?” John replies to each group separately, according to their way of life.
The ordinary folk are to share what they have; their clothes and food, with those who are in need. The tax collectors, who don’t have a good reputation because they do the dirty work of the Romans and then make a profit for themselves on the side, leading to all sorts of corruption and extortion, are to be honest and just in what they collect. The soldiers are told, “No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!”
Having listened to John’s wise preaching and teaching, the people begin to wonder if John himself is the Messiah; the One for whom they had waited expectantly and with intense longing. But John is quick to silence such talk; he is not the Messiah! John diverts attention from himself to Jesus. His ministry is not about himself but about the One who is coming; “someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals.” John baptises with water but the Messiah will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John proclaimed repentance, prepared for Jesus and died. This is the pattern of John’s life. It’s also the pattern of Jesus’ life. He proclaimed the Good News, prepared the way to the Father and died. It’s the pattern of our own Christian living. We proclaim the Good News, prepare for the many ways that Christ comes to us throughout our lives and die to ourselves.
By being baptised “with the Holy Spirit” we are empowered to do God’s work, for in baptism our lives are grafted onto Christ. In baptism we become heralds, like John, of Christ’s redeeming presence in our world. By our Christian living we not only point to Christ, but we also make present the Christ who lives in us!
So, what must we do? Whether we are at the office, in the kitchen, on the playground, in the supermarket, on the golf course, in the classroom, behind the counter, in the factory, at the garage, working at the keyboard, answering the phone or in the waiting room, we need to remember that we are God’s representatives, proclaiming the Good News wherever we are.
Today, think about your life; the people with whom you come into contact; your sphere of influence. You are God’s instruments. For some people you may be their only link to God and the Good News. It is through your life that people see and experience Christ and his enduring message of love, acceptance, forgiveness, peace and hope.
David J Hore CSsR
© Majellan Media 2021