December 16, Third Sunday of Advent.
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
2) Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel) Luke 3:10-18
This week’s Gospel of Luke continues John the Baptist’sAdvent message. Those who have heard his admonition to prepare the way of the Lord ask the prophet to specify, “What should we do?”
He offers instruction that basically tells them to clean up their lives by personally aiding those in need and getting rid of habits and practices that are selfish or hurtful to other people. He reiterates the need to sweep out these negative influences when he suggests that Christ will come with a “winnowing fan” to clear away the chaff, meaning the obstacles to his reign.
Freshly graduated from college, my friend Michele landed an enviable first job in the marketing section of a large national corporation. Her abilities quickly impressed her bosses, so they put her on a fast track to move up in the business.
But after only a couple of years, she felt a deep calling to serve God and thought it might be a vocation to religious life.
To the amazement of her young professional friends and doting supervisors, she began preparing herself to be more open to Christ’s presence in her life. She had a lot of “chaff” to dispose of: She loved dating and socializing,
shopping for clothes, and then there was the whole competitive, profit-pushing attitude of the business world she occupied.
Although it was hard to explain to the people around her, Michele knew she had to clear those things out in order for Christ to enter, unencumbered, into her life and work his will.
After also giving away all her material possessions, Michele spent more than a year in a convent discerning her vocation. It turned out not to be as a religious sister.
Now, years later, she is a wife and mother of three children in a young family filled with the love of Jesus. Effortlessly, it seems, she shines Christ’s light in her community: her children’s school, her church, and, yes, in the corporate world where she works.
The rich fulfillment of Michele’s call to Christ began with her first following the call to clear his way into her life.
The Advent Gospel calls us to look at what surrounds us and determine to clear away the obstacles to Christ’s presence.
What possessions, attitudes, habits, or activities get in the way of your relationship and dialogue with Christ? Which ones will you try to clear away this Advent season?