Sunday, December 9

Luke 3:1-6, today’s Gospel reading, tells us about the beginning of John the Baptizer’s ministry. John was different to say the least. Living in the wilderness, dressed in a rough garb made of animal skins, eating locusts and wild honey. When he made his appearance on the “religious” scene I’m sure folks noticed. John stood out. So did his message. Baptism at this point in Jewish history wasn’t an oddity. As a ritual cleaning the Pharisees, as an example, washed or baptized converts when they adopted the Jewish faith. But what John was doing wasn’t just for show, it wasn’t just a ceremonial washing. This baptism John offered demanded a real cleaning of the individuals interior along with a true change of life to prove it. This too was different. And it was why all who were sincere, regardless their past or position, were welcome. Those whose religion consisted of an outward show were denied baptism and sent away without respect for social position, worldly acclaim, or whatever. This was very different. In John’s day the rich and powerful were considered righteous because God had so obviously blessed them. They MUST be good people. The sick, the poor, the outcast were just as obviously steeped in sin for God to punish them so.

In our time things haven’t changed all that much. Folks with political pull, individuals involved in certain professions like acting or scientific research, the well-educated, the well-heeled, these people are looked up to, idolized and put on pedestals for the world to see and venerate in its own stylish manner. Others, the sick and infirm, the aged, the less talented and uneducated are pushed aside or, what I think is even worse, simply ignored as though they don’t exist. If John was here today which group would he fit in with? Which group do we gravitate towards?

John was the forerunner of Christ and his only purpose was to get things ready for Jesus, to prepare the way for THE Way. When John got things ready for Christ he dealt with one thing and one thing only. John dealt with the human heart. He called to it. Those with money, power, and education found it hard to answer because all of these things, and they’re not bad in and of themselves, tend to get in the way. But that other class of people, the less fortunate according to worldly standards? Having less or having nothing at all they were better able to answer John’s call because they possessed nothing to get in the way. Think of all the great saints throughout our Catholic history who were, from a worldly viewpoint, destitute. But they owned riches in Christ.

Riches, education, power are all fine things when put to proper use. And we’ve had plenty of saints who did that too. But its easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s because where your treasure is your heart will be also.

Yes, John was different. He set a different sort of example. And he called not to the person’s “outside” but to their “inside”. We need to remember this and practice being different ourselves. John paved the way for Jesus with his difference. We need to do the same. Because that same Jesus Who came in John’s day is coming back, and that return could be any day now. And your “difference”? Let it begin on the inside and shine all the way to the outside. 🙂

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Published in: on December 9, 2012 at 6:12 am  Comments Off on Sunday, December 9  
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