Saturday, 14 December 2019 20:41

Third Sunday in Advent (A) 2019

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advent19a3 350This Sunday marks the turning point in the Advent Season.

Traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday” it is a day of rejoicing that the Saviour is near. The focus shifts from the final coming of Christ at the end of time to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem. The note of joy is symbolised by the inclusion of the colour rose among the purple of the Season.

The joyful first reading from the prophet Isaiah proclaims that God is on his way to save his people. This coming brings healing and rejoicing and an end to sorrow and lament.

Using images of farmers and prophets, the letter of St James urges patience in our waiting for God. A kind of patient certainty is the attitude of the disciple.

In the Gospel Jesus fulfils the prophecy of the first reading about the Messiah. John the Baptist asks, “Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?” It’s almost as if Jesus is not the kind of Messiah John is expecting

Perhaps that is sometimes our question, too. God often seems slow in responding to our needs. Perhaps it is us who are slow in responding to God; slow in letting the message of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit transform our lives so that we too might have power to bring healing and joy.

Our Christmas can’t simply be about Jesus’ birth a long time ago, celebrating an historical anniversary. It has to be more than that - the celebration of a fresh discovery of an ever-deepening presence of Christ in each of us.

Matthew 11:2-11

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you. I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

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