In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” Luke 3:1-14
Today we celebrate the life and work of Christina Rossetti, poet and writer who composed my favorite Christmas carol - In the Bleak Midwinter. She was born to a refugee father in England and used her words to liberate her heart and soul from tragedy and depression. She found satisfaction in her love and devotion to her family and to expressing her soul through her writings and poetry. Her life was not easy but she found her spiritual satisfaction as she expressed her heart. She has blessed many of us down through the ages.
In our Gospel we hear about John's ministry and his direction to the crowds on living fairly and with compassion. He is very direct in his language, always ready to teach and remind people of God's promises. John invites us today to live fairly and compassionately, expecting always the presence of the living God.
Today I ask God to help me prepare my heart anew for the living God. May we used the gifts and blessings we have for the good of others and be satisfied where we have been placed. May we all find God right where we are today.