READINGS: Zephaniah 3:14-18/ Philippians 4: 4-7/ Luke 3:10-18
3rd Sunday of Advent
A theme which runs through the readings of this Third Sunday of Advent is “Rejoice!”
- The first reading says: “Shout for joy …Rejoice, exult with all your heart”!
- The responsorial psalm says: “Sing and shout for joy, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel”!
- The second reading says: “Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice”!
- And in the gospel reading, when the people were excited that in John the Baptist they were experiencing the work of a great prophet, he told them something to the effect that he was nothing close to the real cause of their joy.
Jesus Christ is the true cause of our everlasting joy and these were the words of John the Baptist regarding our Lord: “I am not worthy to even serve as the servant who unties the straps of his sandals.” We could picture John’s appreciation of his relationship with Jesus this way: in the long convoy of the visiting King (Jesus), John was merely a dispatch rider. John’s humble status in relation to Jesus is evident in the following:
- Whereas John baptized with water, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit;
- Whereas John did not heal the sick, Jesus heals every sickness – He is our Divine Physician;
- Whereas John did not cast out demons, Jesus does;
- Whereas John did not multiply loaves, Jesus does – moreover, Jesus is the Bread of our eternal life;
- Whereas John did not raise the dead, Jesus does – He is indeed our life and resurrection;
- Yes, John died for the truth, but his death did not save the world. However, the death and resurrection of Jesus saved the world;
- Yes, John was a great prophet but he is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, while Jesus is the Prophet of all prophets, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the King of Heaven and earth, God from God, true God from true God, begotten not made!
Beloved, indeed far greater than our imagination and words can capture is the salvation God is offering us through His eternal Son, born in time in Bethlehem!
Jesus, as prophesied by Zephaniah, has come to change our mourning into dancing (cf. first reading). Indeed, He has turned our death into new life and our hell into heaven!
So beloved, in whatever mood we find ourselves today, let us rejoice. Irrespective of whatever challenges or difficulties we may be experiencing in life, let us rejoice in the good news of our salvation!
Therefore, beloved, let us join the people of God to sing this Advent hymn which enjoins us to rejoice:
Rejoice, rejoice, O Israel,
To thee shall come Emmanuel.
O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lowly exile here,
Until the Son of God appears,
Rejoice, rejoice ….
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis