Third Sunday of Advent
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11; Psalm (Luke) 1:46-50, 53-54;
First Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
The Gospel narrative is again about John being the “witness” and not the “Christ.” There were groups in the early years after Jesus’ death who believed that John was the “anointed.” We hear in today’s reading explicit statements that Jesus and not John is the One sent. Our faith allows us to have a great feeling of joy not merely that Jesus and not John, is the Messiah, but rather that Jesus was actually sent to us and continues being missioned to be our Savior.
Advent is really a great advertising season. New toys for the children, clothes, appliances, electric gizmos, and such are displayed in stores, mailings, TV, and, of course, on the internet. “Coming soon!” Advent is also an advertisement for four weeks that invites us to see if we really need, or know that we need—the One sent to us.
Commercials and advertisements show us that we need this and that we can’t live without that product. Advertisers have to make us feel the need and then present us with the salvation of that need. We may not grasp we need a new mousetrap until the TV person convinces us that our entire home is full of the little critters.
Friends, Advent, is not only for His coming, but our time for coming to our own sense of need. As Saint Paul tells the Thessalonians, “The one who calls you is faithful.” We are not forced to see our fictitious needs but are invited to accept prayerfully how we depend on God even though we do not like it all the time. John knew who he was and who he was not. When we grow comfortable with the illusion of our independence, we confuse ourselves about whom we are and who we are not.
The basic “advertisement” of today’s liturgy is that we are glad that the Holy Lord God “has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.” As we move in-and-out of the awareness of who we are and who are not, our faithful God continues sending us a “Messenger” of fidelity and messages in our lives which, like the ads on TV, are not necessarily wanted or needed, but do tell us the truth of our dependence.
Today we rejoice that the “Advertiser” of our salvation never tires of presenting His saving product, His grace and His love. Today, we are asked to buy it and live it ALWAYS!
Question of the Day: How will you hear more clearly, read more deeply, and receive more openly what to expect during the season of Advent?
Prayer: Say to the anxious, be strong and fear not, our God will come to save us. (Is. 35:4)