Rejoicing in the light of Jesus our Redeemer on this Gaudete Sunday
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (December 13, 2020): IS 61:1-2,10-11; LK 1:46-48,49-50,53-54; 1 THES 5:16-24; JN 1:6-8,19-28
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
John the Baptist who is mentioned in each of the Gospels is an intrinsic part of Advent liturgy. Because this season both draws us back to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, we need to appreciate the careful plans the Father laid to let the Jewish people know the Messiah was among them.
On this Third Sunday of Advent we again hear about the mission of St. John the Baptist. “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came testify to the light.… And this is the testimony of John.… ‘I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie’” (John 1:6-8, 19, 26-27). John the Baptist who is mentioned in each of the Gospels is an intrinsic part of Advent liturgy. Because this season both draws us back to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, we need to appreciate the careful plans the Father laid to let the Jewish people know the Messiah was among them. They had been waiting so long, that many of them, especially the leaders, were not willing to believe the day had finally arrived. Perhaps they were satisfied that they were running things well enough and did not want anything or anyone upsetting their privileged positions. Perhaps they had such a different view of the role of a Messiah that neither the John nor Jesus could convince them that Almighty God’s design was so magnificent, so merciful, so world-encompassing.
Yet Advent also looks forward to Christ’s Second Coming. That is the final step in the Divine plan for our salvation. Maybe we simply do not want to think about something that makes us so uncomfortable. The world has been waiting 2,000 years, so surely it will wait longer yet. But Jesus told us that we would not know the day or hour. God does not want us to be filled with fear, but with hope. Whatever the days or hours left to our mortal existence or to the existence of the world, we need to know that our Almighty and Eternal Lord – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is waiting to welcome us. Our Savior taught us everything we need to know through His words and deeds, through the entirety of His life, death and resurrection. We have only to embrace the joy of saying, “Yes!” for now and forever. Today, more than halfway through Advent, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday by rejoicing in the love of God who always calls us closer to Himself.