The issues facing our world nowadays are major and have enormous significance. What are they? First and foremost is peace on earth. How can nations and peoples live together and resolve their differences without resorting to war ever again. Another is the urgent need to tackle climate change. How can we stop polluting this wonderful world of ours? The stark reality of the damage that we humans are causing to the earth is evident – storms, hurricanes, flooding and extreme weather events continue to worsen. When we look at major issues like these our first reaction is one of genuine care and concern and we all agree that something should and must be done. But our second reaction is very often to excuse ourselves of responsibility on the grounds that there is nothing we as individuals can do. The issues are simply too big and we are too small to make any real difference.
This Sunday’s Gospel deals with the ministry of John the Baptist preaching about some great issues of his time – the kingdom of God, a call to repentance and the need to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The people wondered how all of this was connected to their individual lives. If the kingdom of God is soon to appear, surely one individual person cannot do anything about it. Probably not much and certainly not everything, but they could do something. They asked John “What must we do?” His answer was a simple basic approach to important issues of living justly and compassionately in the circumstances of their own lives. They could make a difference by seeking to make a positive change in their own lives.
As we approach the celebration of the coming of Christ we ask ourselves “What should we do?” John’s answer is within the reach of us all. Firstly, share with those in need. Secondly, do our daily work honestly and well. Then Christ, the great giver, and Christ, the great worker, will indeed come and live in our midst. Fr John