Theme: “Go and Proclaim with Joy”
3rd Sunday of Advent- Year A December 11, 2022
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146:2 &7,3&5,9-10
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:2-11
Our Advent Sunday readings have been talking about hope, faith, joy, and love. These are the virtues that God wants us to build and cultivate in order for us to become effective in bringing out the Gospel and as we prepare our lives for His second coming.
At the on-set of the year, we are reminded of these virtues. We need to prepare our hearts for Christmas so that when Christmas time comes to our lives, we know what we are celebrating; that God, our Emmanuel has come to live with us. As we prepare our hearts, let us also prepare our lives for the whole year! For God will open door of blessings and the anointing of the Spirit will bring many breakthroughs in our lives.
The first Advent is proof of Christ’s second coming. Christ didn’t back out the first time, and so we anticipate the fulfilment of His promise – His next coming. And for this year, as commissioned people of God in bringing out the Gospel, our activities will be geared to our mission – to preach and proclaim the Good News. We are now the hands and feet of God, the Body of Christ. It is our responsibility now to bring the knowledge of God’s love to the people, especially those who are loaded with so much burden, so much guilt and sin that they forgot that Jesus is no longer counting those sins against them. They need to know and understand, they need to see the freedom that God has given them; the healing and restoration that Jesus has provided. And for the Gospel to be brought out to them and the world, we need to go and bring it with our own lives.
Today, we lit the candle of joy. “When we set our hope in Christ, and anchor our faith in the Son of God, joy comes in”. Many people find it hard to find joy, nowadays. “Joy is the flower/fruit of setting our hope in Jesus.” Joy can evoke and sometimes bring happiness, but joy is an inner strength in us that propel and push us to overcome whatever problems we have in life. Scriptures said, Jesus endured the suffering in the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. When we go out in the world to preach the Gospel, it is the joy of the Lord that will be our strength; it will give us the spiritual energy inside, that though we our feeling wasted and tired outwardly, inwardly, there is a renewal happening. This is the same joy that will be our driving force in our life as we take care our children, our family, and our community no matter how difficult it is. it will cause us to serve Christ when others are already giving up, when others are losing already the ability to serve Christ. This is how joy is important in bringing out the Good News.
The essence of bringing out the Gospel, is to change the world around us. Gospel transforms the lives of the people. It is like a rain that comes to the desert, when we bring it to the wilderness, the people who hear and receive it starts to bloom. With hope, faith, joy and love, let us be the “rain” that “blooms out the desert”. Let us go out of our comfort zones and venture with joy in our hearts. Hardships and problems of life might cause us to doubt, but like St. John the Baptist, he anchored his faith in God’s words, we might also have that trust and confidence in the promises of Christ. It makes a great difference when Christ comes in the picture of the life of the people.
Finally, Father Jun pushes us to go out to the world, praying that we will no longer be “silent Christians”. Life is short, we need to prepare our hearts for God’s purposes in our lives. Let us not miss out what God has stored for us!
MERCY DE LA CRUZ-ESPIRITU
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