Dr. Scott Hahn: What Do We Do?

« Mary is the daughter Zion—the favorite one of God, told not to fear but to rejoice that the Lord is with her, ‘a mighty Savior.’”

Dr. Scott Hahn reflects on the Mass readings for the third Sunday of Advent (Year C).

Zephaniah 3:14-18
Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4: 4-7
Luke 3:10-18

The people in today’s Gospel are  » filled with expectation. »They believe John the Baptist might be the messiah they’ve been waiting for. Three times we hear their question “ » What should we do?”

The messiah’s coming requires every man and woman to choose-to « repent » or not. That’s John’s message and it will be Jesus’ too Luke 3:35:3224:47).

« Repentance » translates a Greek word, metanoia (literally, “change of mind”). In the scripts, repentance is presented as a twofold  » turning— - away from sin (see Ezekiel 3:1918:30) and towards God (see Sirach 17:20-21Hosea 6:1).

This “turning  » is more than attitude adjustment. It means a radical life change. It requires “good fruits as evidence of your repentance » Luke 3: 8). That’s why John tells the crowds, soldiers, and tax collectors they must prove their faith through works of charity, honesty, and social justice.

In today’s Liturgy, each of us is called to stand in that crowd and hear the “good news” of John’s call to repentance. We should examine our lives, asking from our hearts as they did: “what should we do? »Our repentance should spring not from our fear of coming wrath Luke 3:7-9) but from a joyful sense of the nearness of our saving God.

This theme resounds through today’s readings “  » Thank you! . . . The Lord is near. There is no fear at all,” we hear in today’s Epistle. In today’s Responsorial, we hear again the call to be joyful, unafraid at the Lord’s coming among us.

In today’s first Reading, we hear echoes of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary. The prophet’s words are very close to the angel’s greeting (compare Luke 1:28-31). Mary is the daughter Zion—the favorite one of God, told not to fear but to rejoice that the Lord is with her, “a mighty Savior.”

She is the cause of our joy. For in her draws near the Messiah, as John had promised: « One mightier than I is coming.”

This reflection appears here with the kind permission of the author. Visit Dr. Hahn’s website St. The Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

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