This Sunday’s first reading (Baruch) reaches back to last Sunday’s first reading (Jeremiah). Last Sunday, the first reading was all about God’s promise of salvation. This Sunday, the first reading doesn’t wait for the obvious “when?”
Without even being asked, the first reading answers last week’s unspoken question. And with the only thing you really want to hear after a "when" question. “Now.”
Sunday's Gospel (Luke) puts everything in context. The front half puts things into the larger (secular) historical context. The back half ties into the history of God's people, and God's promise of a Messiah to deliver them. It tells us when, and it tells us why.
So what’s being put into context? A baptism of repentance, cleaning things up on the inside. To prepare the way for the Lord.