Three groups of people ask John the Baptist the same question in this week’s gospel, “What should we do?” The gospel doesn’t tell us if they listened to what he said or liked his answer or if they went and did what he directed.
What we do know is that after he answered, the gospel says people were filled with expectation and wondered if John might be the chosen one of God. John’s teaching was so radical and life changing that they wondered if John could be Christ.
John’s response is beautiful and powerful. He says that while he purifies with water, the Messiah will purify with fire and the spirit. In other words, the work of Christ will bring about even greater transformation, even more complete purification.
One way to think about this gospel. This gospel is a formula for how to repent and believe in the good news.
Step 1: Ask “What should I do?” Be direct. Ask the big question. Expect a response.
Step 2: Listen. Actually wait for a response. God works in mysterious ways and on His own timeline. Ask and and keep listening.
Step 3: Look for the messiah who will cleanse you with fire and the Spirit. Receive the Sacraments. Go to confession. Let the love of God burn up the rough, tough, and gross parts of your life and behavior.
Step 4: Preach the good news. Share what you’ve been given. Every gift of God is good enough to be shared in some way.
LIVE IT: Take some time for an honest and earnest prayer only asking one thing, “God, what do you want me to do?”