In today’s gospel people are asking John, “What should we do?” They have seen something in John that they take him to be a man of God. Their hearts are open; they have firm purpose of amendment. They are not saying, “It’s my life; I will do what I want.” They may have in the past, but now they are ready to make a return to God for the good that He has done and for the good that He has promised to do. Their hearts are open. That’s when grace can enter in.
I notice that John does not ask any of them to leave their current profession – not even the tax collectors! (In the time of John and Jesus, tax collectors were viewed by many as willing cooperators with an oppressive Roman regime and, therefore, as traitors of God’s chosen people Israel. John and Jesus did not see them that way.) This is consistent with Jesus’s teaching that we be salt and light and leaven in our world. Christians are called to remain in the world, but to order their lives, order the workplaces as far as they are able, to conform to the vision set forth in the gospel. To this end there are Catholic societies for the medical professions, the legal professions, business professionals. The strength of these groups varies greatly from one city or location to another. We are to be leaven.
We are approaching the Christmas season. The use of incense is one way that we show greater honor to God on greater feast days. I love the symbol myself. However, some people react adversely to incense. We are new at these considerations, but look to next weekend’s bulletin to see which Masses are more likely to make use of incense during the Christmas season.
Prepare your heart to receive our Savior who is coming near.