Theme: ADVENT: JOYFUL EXPECTATION AND JOYFUL PREPARATION!
- Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11;
- Lk 1:46-50. 53-54. R/ Is 61:10; 1
- Thessalonians 5:16-24
- John 1:6-8. 19-28
1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year B. There are four Sundays of Advent before Christmas. The word Advent means coming. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time.
Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago in “memory”. Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in “mystery” and Jesus Christ will come at the End of Time in “majesty”! Because Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago in “memory” and continues to come every Christmas in “mystery”, we are sure He will come again at the End of Time in “majesty”!
Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time!
The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ. But more importantly, the gospel tells us that John the Baptist was not worthy even to undo the strap of Jesus’ sandals! John the Baptist baptized with water but Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit!
The gospel acclamation tells us that Jesus Christ will come in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring good news to the poor! The poor are not only the materially poor, nor only the spiritually poor, but the poor are those who are totally dependent on God for their salvation! Thus we read in the gospel acclamation:
“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor.” (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18; SM)
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading was quoted in the gospel acclamation. The first reading also tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to set prisoners free and to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord! A year of favor, a year of grace, a year of blessing! In other words, salvation is a free gift! This is indeed good news to the poor!
That is why the first reading tells us to rejoice, to be joyful and to be happy! Thus we read in the first reading:
“I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of joy of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is quoted from the first reading:
“My soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10; SM)
The responsorial psalm itself is the song of praise of Mary after the angel announced to her that she was to be the mother of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and after she visited her cousin Elizabeth. Mary was filled with joy, because the Almighty God has done great things for her! Thus we read in the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:
“My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. He looks on his servant in her nothingness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!” (Lk 1:46-49; SM)
4. The second reading continues this theme of joy! Thus the second reading begins with these words: “Be happy at all times.” (1 Th 5:16; SM) or “Rejoice always.” (CSB) or “Always be joyful.” (NJB)
Today we also celebrate “rejoice Sunday” or “joyful Sunday” or “happy Sunday” because we are more than half way through to Christmas! That is why the priest uses pink/rose vestment and that is why we light the pink/rose candle. Pink/rose color symbolizes joy!
“Advent” is not “Lent”. “Lent” is a season of “penance”, but “Advent” is a season of “joyful expectation”, but “joyful expectation” means “joyful preparation”! When we expect Jesus Christ to come, we prepare for his coming!
5. Let us then during this time of Advent prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, by praying, by repentance, by confessing our sins, by reading the Bible, by reading the Sunday Mass readings, by attending prayer meetings on Fridays, by attending BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, by Christmas caroling, by being Santa Claus, that is, by giving gifts to the poor, to the sick, to the needy, to the aged, to the lonely, to the marginalized, to the stranger, to the foreigner, to the alien, to the poor children, etc.! A happy Advent to all of you!