Reflection for the 3rdSunday of Advent Year B
(Is 61:1-2, 10-11; 1Thes 5:16-24; Jn 1:6-8, 19-28)
Welcome to the Third Week of Advent as we look forward in hope of the joy of Christmas. Today is popularly known as ‘Gaudete’ (Rejoice) Sunday. In the readings, the Prophet Isaiah announces the ‘good tidings’ to come. He looks into the ‘future of the Lord’ and sees liberation, comfort for the broken-hearted, and the Lord’s favor, which shall cover the people with the robe of righteousness and adorn them with beauty as a bride is adorned with jewels. Therefore, the prophet exclaims, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God.” St Paul in the second reading explains how this joy should be the constant disposition of believers; “Rejoice always.” This joy does not just happen, it is the fruit of our life of prayer, gratitude to God, and good and honest living. By avoiding evil, we keep our hearts open for the Holy Spirit of peace to dwell in us. Then our lives will be ready to welcome the Lord Jesus.
The Gospel presents to us the testimony of John the Baptist. John describes himself as “The Voice” that directs people to the Lord. In Isaiah, the prophetic voice announced the good tidings to come, but John the Baptist speaks of the Word of God who is already in our midst. “But among you stands one whom you do not know…” Thus, John’s call for repentance becomes an eye-opener to see the Lord who dwells amongst us, who is already present in every situation of our lives, even in the little things, the crisis we face each day, and the success we enjoy!
John the Baptist was a happy man, for his life and words pointed to Jesus who is the Word of God. Yes, John confessed that he was not the Christ, but his message bore testimony to Jesus. If we abide by the message of St Paul in the second reading and ‘make straight the way of the Lord in our hearts by constant prayer and righteousness in the Holy Spirit, then our lives and words shall be ‘voices’ confessing Jesus who is already present amongst us. Now, the prophetic expectation of the good tidings to come has become a confession of faith in the Lord in whom we rejoice.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday, December 13th, 2020.