Joy with Meaning11 December 2021
On this third Sunday of Advent the evangelist Luke speaks (Lk 3:10-18) of the testimony of John the Baptist, the precursor. John’s preaching is concretized in the fraternal relationship, in the practice of justice, in the renunciation of violence and in professional ethics; dimensions that reach every human being and show that salvation reaches everyone. The Gospel intends that the hearer of God’s Word be converted, that is, that his conduct and behavior be in accordance with the righteousness that the Kingdom demands. Conversion is a change of behavior rather than a change of ideas. To convert is to act in an evangelical manner.
St. Paul, in turn, tells us to be joyful; joyful for the coming of the Lord, for maintaining hope, for placing ourselves in the process of conversion and for sharing with our brothers and sisters the Lord’s Supper. In the Bible, joy accompanies every fulfillment of God’s promises. This time the joy will be particularly profound: “The Lord is at our side” (Phil 4:5). The practice of justice and the experience of joy will lead us to authentic peace, to the Shalom (life, integrity) of God.
“What should we do?” (Lk 3:10) The answer of John the Baptist is not an empty theory. It is through gestures and concrete actions of justice, respect, solidarity and Christian coherence, how we show our will of peace, thus we build a social fabric most worthy of the children of God, we conquer the profound and radical changes that our life and our society need. For this, we must purify the church (and to teach and help others to do likewise), allow the Spirit of the Lord to invade us, liberate us from the ties of selfishness and accommodation, and to dispose ourselves with joy, hope and enthusiasm to contribute to the construction of a more human future, an expression of the Kingdom of God that Jesus brings us.