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Monday, 8 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) Year B (December 14 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) Year B (December 14 2014)
Theme: Rejoice, Christ is Near Us

The Word of God is one means through which God establishes His presence among us. In the Word of God, He reveals Himself and communicates His will to us that we may know Him better. In Jesus, we experience this Word not just as a spoken or written word but as a Living Being and it is the arrival of this Living Being, the Word that was made flesh that we anticipate during Advent. The Word of God is Spirit and Life (cf. Jn. 6:63) and in the first reading (Is. 61:1-2, 10-11), we see this Spirit at work in the prophecy of 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 (John 1:6-8. 19-28) in the person of Christ. He is 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 himself to be the fulfillment of this prophecy after reading the scroll in the temple (cf. Lk. 4:18-19). In the gospel reading too, John recognizes Christ as the Word made flesh and he went further to describe himself as the Voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Thus, Jesus is the Incarnate Word and John the voice that calls people to prepare for the arrival of this Word. 

Today, we are invited to acknowledge and appreciate the power inherent in the Word of God. In the Word of God, God reveals Himself to humanity. 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 (1 Thess 5:16-24) 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. 

Beloved friends, traditionally, the Church regards today as “Gaudete Sunday” (Joyful Sunday). The Church rejoices not just because Christ is near us in the Word of God but also because his coming is very close at hand. In the presence of God, there is fullness of joy. Let us rejoice because Christ who revealed Himself to us in the Word of God is very near to us and because in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy. As we anticipate his birth in our hearts at Christmas, with joy, let us embrace Him. Are we always joyful when we encounter Christ in the Word of God? Are we motivated and challenged by the Word of God? Do we pray with this Word? This Word should be a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). What is our attitude towards the Word of God? Are we always conscious of what the Bible permits and forbids? How often do we read the Word of God? Do we evaluate the preacher or refer the message to others or do we appropriate the Word of God and allow it to transform us? May God through the intercession of our mother 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. God loves you. Happy Sunday.

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