Third Sunday of Advent 2018
December 16, 2018
Scripture: Zeh. 3: 14-18a; Phil. 4: 4-7; Lk. 3: 10-18
John the Baptist is my favorite Advent person. He is presented as a wild man, dressed strangely, proclaiming a message in the desert to all who would hear. My birthday happens to be the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist (formerly known as the Beheading of John the Baptist), so I suppose I’ve had a connection with him from my birth. Perhaps that explains why I like to wear wild bold colors.
As we grow in our faith, we are often encouraged to follow the example Christ gave us. You can see this in the WWJD (What would Jesus do?) bracelets and bumper stickers. This can be difficult and downright depressing as Jesus provides a perfect model whose example we can never expect to match.
Instead, I’d like to encourage us to be more like John the Baptist. All we need to do is point the way for others to Jesus. When the crowds approach John in today’s Gospel, he responds: “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.” (Luke 3:16)
Today is also known as “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice.” On this day then, let us rejoice because Jesus came to save us, and let us find comfort in the actions of John the Baptist. Whether we wear wild clothes or not, all we need to do is point others to Jesus.
Gracious God, we rejoice that you sent your Son to redeem the world. In our struggle to follow him, give us the strength to be like John the Baptist. Help us to cry out with joy and gladness and prepare the way for others to follow him. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
By Glenn Osbourne