Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent. 2020
Is 61: 1-2a, 10-11. 1 Thess. 5: 16 – 24. John 1: 6-8, 19-28
John the Baptist is a unique figure in our Advent Journey to Christmas. Even in the womb of Elizabeth he has a role in the Annunciation Story. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John points out Jesus as the fulfillment of Salvation History with his famous words – Behold the lamb of God. And his disciples follow Jesus.
Today we hear the powerful announcement of the Baptist – I am Not the Christ, but the voice crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord. And by his actions in Judea, John did exactly that by calling for repentance and he lost his head for it.
We too are to “make straight the way of the lord.” Get our values right! We honor John our model and hero as we imitate his courage to make ready the world to accept Christ, but even more, to live Christ.
St. Paul passage from Thessalonians is like a summary of all Paul’s teaching on the power of Christ and our prayer. He says, pray without ceasing in the Spirit and fulfill your call. We need always to do what he says. This is our monastic life really, isn’t it.?
We need the Vision of the Baptist, we need the voice of a Paul, to shout out loud the love of God for all and to remind all folks of God’s faithfulness and love, God’s mercy for us all. In a real way they become part of us because they have such an influence on us.
Who are other role models for you? Those who have helped you live Christ, helped you discern your call and live it out?
In some way they too are already part in your life, part of who you are now.
The pink Candle on the wreath and Rose vestments signal the incarnation of Joy and our future in Christ. We are the ones who will carry on – in the flesh, in our lives, the very life of Jesus . The Third Sunday of Advent is a personal invitation to each one of us to bring Christ and his ministry to our waiting world. A world longing for something else, for peace, for unity. For a way forward out of the tension and hatred that seems so palpable. Jesus is the answer. We know that, let us help the world come to know this as well, by the way we live Jesus.
Hope is the virtue of Advent and especially of this third Sunday – that’s why we are joyful – we do have hope. Hope in one another and in the wider Christian community, to fulfill Christ’s command to preach the Good News. To come to that place to live in God’s love.
We seek to restore justice in the human community, to live a life for others, the self-centered life is not the Christian response. A life of inclusion and acceptance of others is the Christian life. Yes, it is a struggle for sure because it requires a willingness to be for others first. Especially those who may be different from ourselves.
We honor their dignity, that is, the right of each person to live their life in freedom and with justice. And there are so many who do not experience this freedom and justice today. We hear this call in Isaiah and Jesus himself takes up this very ministry as his own. We are in good company when we do the same. Setting people free, helping folks live their dreams as we seek to live ours.
It’s the very restructuring of society that is required as Jesus preaches and the early church practices, as we read in Acts. They held al things in common. What does that mean for us today in our culture? How do we live Christ, in a world that does not want to hear the words of fraternity, equality and unity pertaining to them but only to someone else?
So this call to freedom, to dignity, to glad tidings to all the poor, is indeed a cause for great rejoicing. And our great hope. Of course, the poor also include all the poor in spirit. All those who are stuck in consumerism, greed, individualism, and all kinds of addictions. They need hope, they need new life.
So, the incarnation of Christ is our only hope. Because it‘s the way forward and that means we must in-flesh Christ by continuing his ministry, bringing the Kingdom to fulfillment. There’s our call, there’s our hope and joy not only for ourselves but for the whole church and the world.