John the Baptizer is preaching good news to the people—
the Messiah is
And the people are “filled with expectation.”
They are wondering,
is John the one?
the Anointed One, the
For over a hundred years
before Jesus and over a hundred after,
Judaism saw people step forward to
and even to take actions that were interpreted as messianic.
Jewish Messiah could be a king like David or Cyrus the Great.
Isaiah says the
Messiah will establish a government in Israel
that will be the center of all
both for Jews and gentiles.
Or the Messiah could be a
who would defeat their enemies
and establish an
independent Jewish kingdom,
like Judas Maccabeus who revolted against the
to free the Jews from foreign domination,
or like Judas of
Galilee, Simon of Peraea, and Athronges,
who fought Rome about the time of
and were defeated.
Or the Messiah could be a charismatic
who would give the correct interpretation of Mosaic law,
Israel, and judge humankind.
Jeremiah prophesies that the Messiah will
rebuild the Temple,
re-establish worship in Jerusalem,
religious court system,
and establish Jewish law as the law of the
Or the Messiah could mean a holy king
who would deliver the Jews
and usher in an age of peace and justice
known as an Olam
the world to come, the Messianic Age,
the peaceful co-existence of
in which hatred, intolerance, and war would
But none of those types of
not a governmental tyrant or a military leader
judgmental religious dictator or a magical deliverer.
God sends and anoints
Jesus a priest, a prophet, a king...
but he's not priest, prophet, and king
like ever before.
Today Luke gives us
a snapshot of John the Baptizer
as one of the messianic prophets,
the crowds he is not the Messiah
and prophesying the coming
of a very
harsh and judgmental Messiah.
The people want to be the wheat gathered into
not the chaff thrown into the fire.
They ask John, “What are we
The answer Luke puts in the
Baptizer's mouth is startling.
He doesn't tell them to abandon their
and spend their time in prayer.
He doesn't tell them to go to the
He doesn't tell them to put more money in the Temple
No: Luke has John tell the crowds
the same thing that Jesus will
be telling them.
Share your food and your clothes
with people who don't
Put your beliefs into practice in your life.
He doesn't tell tax
collectors to quit collecting the taxes.
He tells them to be honest—
to take more than the going rate.
He doesn't tell soldiers to quit the
He tells them to be honest and not take bribes;
he tells them to be
and not accuse people of things they haven't
Preparing for the coming of the
is very different from what they expected.
It's not preparing for
war against the Romans.
It's not insisting on expensive sacrifices in the
It's something everyone can do right where they are,
and they are
filled with expectation.
Imagine that: business people would be honest and
Police would people with dignity and respect!
a sense of fairness and justice and responsibility for
Throughout this advent
we prepare once again to celebrate the first coming,
the birth of
the Messiah, the Holy One of God.
We still look forward to the Second
the time when all creation will reach spiritual maturity
to live in peace with justice.
In this meantime, we experience a Third
the coming of Jesus in our daily lives.
Jesus comes again
time we share our bounty with people in need.
He comes among us
we treat people with honesty and fairness.
He walks with us along the
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
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at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle,