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Sunday, 11 December 2011

3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B: A REFLECTION ON THE READINGS

 For the Mass Readings click here

Every religion seeks to assure its adherents of the presence of a supreme being. Christianity as a religion assures us of this presence of God which is manifested in two major ways. The first is the universalized presence which we see in the immanence and transcendence of God, that God is everywhere. The second is the localized presence which means that God is not just in His creation alone but that He localizes His Divine Presence in Sacred Places like the Ark of the Covenant, the Church, in the Word of God and in a more concrete way the Holy Eucharist regarded as the Real Presence. In the Word of God, we see God revealing His presence in the salvation history (soteriology). The Word was God since the beginning but God started revealing it to communicate His will to us.

In this period of advent we anticipate the arrival of the revealed presence of God in an incarnate form, the Word made flesh. This Word is Spirit and Life (cf. Jn. 6:63). In the first reading, we see this Spirit at work in the prophecy of the third Isaiah written shortly after the return from exile. This Spirit brings the Good News of salvation and deliverance to all. This prophecy was however, fulfilled in the gospel reading in the person of Christ. He was the Word that was God in the beginning (cf. Jn. 1:1) and the One anointed with the Spirit at baptism (cf. Mt. 3:16). Jesus confirmed the fulfillment of this prophecy in himself after reading the scroll in the temple (cf. Lk. 4:18-19).

In the gospel reading, John recognizes this revealed presence in the person of Christ, the Word made flesh. He describes himself as the Voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Jesus becomes the Word and John the voice that calls people to prepare for the coming of the Word.
Today, we are invited to acknowledge and appreciate the Word of God because God is present in it. Most people delight in discussing politics, sports, business, science, etc but frown at the Word of God. Some jettison the Word of God when it is proclaimed in public places like buses, markets, etc even when the preacher is sincere. As Christmas approaches, we should grow deeper in love with the Word of God for this is the time the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us to fulfill in us, the promises made in the first reading. This Word is always spoken through a medium, the Voice and this voice could be heard in the daily mass readings, the homilies, the retreats/spiritual conferences we receive, an advice from a friend, our consciences and in a special way in the Bible. We should approach the revealed presence of God in this Word with constant prayer as the second reading tells us. As modern day John the Baptists, we are also the voices through which God speaks His Word to others and we must do this in humility as John the Baptist did. John realized he was only a voice and never made himself more important than the Word. 

Have you recognized the revealed presence of God in His Word? This Word should be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path (cf. Ps 119:105). What is your attitude towards the Word of God? Do you evaluate the preacher or refer the message to others or do you appropriate the Word and allow the Presence of God in it to transform you?  May God through the intercession of Mary, who understood and knew this Word that became flesh in her womb more than anyone, help us to acknowledge and receive this Word well in our lives now and forever. Amen.
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