Advent is a time for conversion. Conversion can only come from a desire to change. John the Baptist recognised this in the people’s question. “What should we do?”, they asked him. These were people not unlike many of us trapped in our worldly desires, for money, power, recognition and greed: tax-collectors, kings, prostitutes, community elders and priests. The Baptist’s response invites change:
Stop collecting more than what is prescribed. [….] Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone and be satisfied with your wages.
How difficult it is to hear such advice in these times? Where all around us seems corrupt. Where our own former president has extorted millions from the public purse and where civil leaders are embroiled in a bank-looting scandal that brought many of the poorest to their knees. And what of the inconscionable ignorance which led to the deaths of more than one hundred mentally ill citizens of our country, leaving families grief-stricken and devastated?
The Baptist’s words insist on reform. Think of your own life, where does the Baptist’s call to change the practices that deny you life resonate?
The Lord loves us, deeply. The Lord knows us intimately and still he knows that there is something so much deeper that is good and whole in each of us.
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
Let us use this time of advent to share what we have, to give graciously and to see things anew — in ourselves and in others.
Join Ricardo da Silva SJ as he reflects on the readings for Gaudete Sunday.
Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.
Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18
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[Photo: Hian Oliveira, Unsplash]