Recently, a company released some marketing by asking Google, “What should I do?” They decided to look at every state to see what the number one searched response to this question would be. Their methodology was to use the autocomplete: “What should I” — leaving the rest blank so that it could give you the suggestions.
They used that and found the ones that were the most common and then the ones that were the most unique to each state. Here is what Google said when people asked, “Should I?” What do you think the number one question asked of Google was last year?
Number one question over the last year was “Should I vote?” in Alabama. In Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, it was “Should I lose weight?” In Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee, it was “Should I diet?” This is Ohio’s big one: “Should I cut my hair?” Who goes to Google for that stuff? “Should I take a nap?” from Virginia. That’s a no-brainer. You do not have to ask Google if you should take a nap. You just do it.
“Should I bake?” That is from Indiana and Michigan. From Texas: “Should I apologize?” “Should I break up with my boyfriend?” from Illinois. “Should I text him?” from Florida, Georgia and New York. “Should I care?” from Idaho and Maine.
All of these questions that people are asking Google are good questions to ask, but I wonder if it might be better to ask God. In the gospel today, we hear something very profound. As people are being baptized, they ask the question, “Should I?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Then the tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone and be satisfied with your wages.” So, we now ask God on this Third Sunday of Advent, “What should we do? What are we called to do?” If only it was so simple that we could just type it into Google, and it would give us the auto-response.
But, it is actually very simple. God does desire to respond to you. He is your Father. If you ask God from the depths of your heart, “What should I do,” he is going to give you the answer. There are times when you do not know what to do. He will give you the answer.
That is what we hear in the readings today. Saint Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, this is what you should do: Rejoice in the Lord.” If you did not hear that, he says it again. “Rejoice in the Lord always. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
So what should we do? Make your requests known to God. We are quick to go to Google, but ask God what it is you need to do.
A wonderful thing is heard in the first reading: “the Lord, your God, is in your midst.” Midst means middle. He is right in the center of whatever you are doing. Right now. You do not need to go through it or resolve whatever is going on in your life to experience peace. Right now, in your midst, he is with you.
That is why on this Gaudete Sunday, which is in the middle of Advent, he is with us in the midst. In just a few moments, we will come to receive the body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. I invite you to hold that question in your heart. Ask him, “What should I do?”
When you receive him into your heart, he will give you a response. You will know what to do from the peace and joy that will come from that moment.
The tendency is to ask Google, but I think the challenge of the Advent season is to ask God, “What should I do?”