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Friday, 14 December 2012

Reflection/Homily: 3rd Sunday of Advent Year C (December 16 2012)

Theme: The Lord is Near
In the prophecy of Zephaniah, the ninth of the twelve Minor Prophets, he warned the people of Judah and the entire Jerusalem about the “day of the Lord” when God will visit them with judgment for falling to keep to their religious obligations (1:4-7). After the woes he pronounced on the people and on Jerusalem, he concluded in the second part of the third chapter with the prophecy of the Messianic Kingdom, a privilege reserved for the remnants of Judah. This prophesy as we see in the first reading (Zephaniah 3:14-18) is a message of hope that the Lord is near, in fact, in the midst of His people. His presence calls for courage and joy among His people.

The message of God’s proximity to His people was also delivered by John the Baptist when he said “the kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe in the Good News” (Mark 1:15). John went further to preach the nearness of the Kingdom of God and the necessity of repentance to the people and as we see in today’s gospel reading (Luke 3:10-18), the people touched by his words asked him: “What must we do, then?” Specifically, to the crowd, he asked them to love (to share what they have with those who lack), he asked the tax collectors to be just (to collect only what is due) and to the soldiers he asked to be contented (no intimidation or extortion). With John’s reply, he emphasized the virtues of love, justice and contentment.  

Beloved friends, today the Church is also calling on us like John did last Sunday to prepare the way for the Lord because the Lord is near. To prepare well to receive Him in our hearts, we can practice the virtues of love, justice and contentment. God is love and those who live in love live in God (1 John 4:7). This is a call to love others as God loves us especially this Christmas season. Let us reach out to the poor and helpless and show them love. When we love, then we can be just. We ought to be just in all our affairs this season and beyond. It is an opportunity to visit our aged parents at home, to give people their due and to pay off the debts we owe among others.

Besides, being just in our dealings with others, we can then be contented with what we have. Many seek to get more of those things they lack within the short period of Christmas and neglect the whole of what they have. Our happiness within this season will not come by worrying over or even getting what we do not have but by being contented with the little we have for all we have come from God. That is why we should celebrate Christmas with joy and happiness for God gives us what is necessary for our existence.

For this reason, St. Paul in the second reading (Philippians 4:4-7) urges us to remain happy and not to worry for the Lord is near. We ought not to worry for the things we do not have, especially for those things greatly required to make us happy during this season and beyond. Instead, St. Paul asks us to ask God for them with prayer and thanksgiving. He will surely provide for us.

Therefore beloved brethren, what is it that is making you worry? Why are you in fears? Why are you panicking? Perhaps you think you can’t meet up this Christmas, then do not worry, ask God for it in prayer and if it is His will, you will surely get it. He is near to deliver us from all fears and hopelessness. But do not forget that because He is near, we should be ready to welcome Him in our hearts this Christmas and beyond by repenting from our sins and believing in the gospel. God loves you.

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