Theme: REJOICE: THE LORD COMES TO SAVE US!
Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year A. Today is also “Rejoice Sunday”! That is why we use rose/pink vestment and light the pink candle! We rejoice because we are more than half way through to Christmas! More importantly, we rejoice because the readings today tell us that the Lord comes to save us!
The gospel today tells us that John the Baptist was not sure if Jesus was the Messiah. John the Baptist expected the Messiah to be a fiery judge who judges, condemns and punishes sinners; but Jesus was a Messiah who loves, forgives and saves sinners!
John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah and Jesus told them to tell John what they have heard and seen, that is, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, lepers are made clean, the dead raised to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor!
Jesus was quoting the prophet Isaiah on the saving works of the Messiah! Very important too are what Jesus said at the end of the first and second paragraphs of the gospel, that is, “happy is the man who does not lose faith in me” and “the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is”. In the first quotation Jesus warns John not to lose faith in him and in the second quotation Jesus tells us that to be in the kingdom of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation is to be greater than John the Baptist!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus is not a fiery judge who condemns sinners, but Jesus is a merciful savior who saves sinners! That is why we rejoice! That is why we have “Rejoice Sunday” or Sunday of joy!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is fulfilled in the gospel! The first reading also tells us to rejoice because the Lord comes to save us! The first reading tells us about the return from exile from Babylon. It is the second exodus, more important than even the first exodus, but most importantly it points to the salvation by Jesus Christ! Thus the caption of the first reading:
“God himself is coming to save you”.
Thus the first reading tells us about the saving works of the Messiah and its accompanying joy:
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy, for those the Lord has ransomed shall return. They will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces; joy and gladness will go with them and sorrow and lament be ended.” (Is 35: 5-6a. 10; Sunday Missal (SM))
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“Come, Lord, and save us.” (cf. Is 35:4; SM)
Thus again, the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm tell us about the saving works of the Messiah:
“It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever, who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free. It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the Lord, who protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan.” (Ps 145:6c-9; SM)
The second reading tells us to be patient as we wait for the Lord’s coming! Just as a farmer is patient as he waits for the fruits of the earth and just as the prophets are patient as they wait for their prophecies to be fulfilled by the Lord; we have also to be patient as we wait for the Lord’s coming! Thus we read:
“You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon.” (Jm 5:8; SM)
Again, today is “Rejoice Sunday” or Sunday of joy! We rejoice because we are more than half way through to Christmas! More importantly, we rejoice because the readings today tell us that the Lord comes to save us!
Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by praying, by doing good works, and by repentance and confessing our sins. That is why we have the “Penitential Service” with individual confessions this coming Monday! A blessed Advent to all of you! Amen!