by Fr Joachim Robert
Theme: Rejoice in the Lord – He is near us!
Today we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Advent, what we call Gaudate Sunday. And that we see that this joy of waiting in patient hope for the coming of the Messiah. And at the beginning of Advent, we took this journey, an adventure of hope. And then on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, we prepare a way for the coming of the Messiah. And this journey of preparations continues.
But the Lord in today’s readings invites us to wait patiently as well for the coming joy that we will experience at Christmas, when the Messiah comes. And the question that we need to ask ourselves, dear friends, how are we preparing our hearts to welcome Jesus this Christmas?
And sometimes when we go through our journey of life, our journey of faith, we can tend to grumble like the First Reading because they were in exile. But they were given this promise of a future that was yet to come. But they needed to wait patiently for that time to dawn on them.
And the Second Reading of today tells us “Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.” And St James gives us the imagery of a farmer who waits patiently for the coming of the crop or the harvest because the farmer knows at an opportune time that it will bear fruit. As we look at our own lives, dear friends, as we look at the journey of Christmas and Advent, it is a reminder for us to take stock of our own life, to see what sort of preparation, what sort of sowing, what sort of charity that we have done to prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus in a special way.
And are we willing to wait patiently for that day to dawn upon us?
Very often when we are waiting patiently, our minds get distracted with many, many things that is around us. Distracted of our own issues with family, our own personal issues, our career, relationships, challenges, studies perhaps, and the list can go on and on and on because the world distracts us from that relationship that we can have with God.
But are we willing to take that distractions away and focus our attention on Jesus? Because the love of Jesus, dear friends, does not distract us but attracts us into a deeper relationship with Him. That attraction also consume our hearts so that we are able to respond in love. And if we are able to respond in love, then it will be shown in the fruits that we bear.
And this journey of Advent, dear friends, this journey of patient waiting during this time brings about the joy of having Jesus as our Lord and our Saviour. Because the love of God for us is steadfast, is faithful and it continues to be there all the while. And continues to be present in our lives, whatever the circumstances may come. But are we willing to give our lives, humble our lives to the attraction that God is calling us into.
This sense of mission, this sense of purpose, the sense of being alive in God. And sometimes, dear friends, like this Gospel today, when we follow Jesus, last week we had John the Baptist baptising people in the loads for the repentance of sin. And today we find him in prison. And sometimes as a disciple, as a person who is in the ministry, we can get caught up with so, so many things. And ministry itself can be stifling for us, for us to grow.
But we see what Jesus tells the disciple of John the Baptist. He says:-
Go back and tell John what you hear and what you see.
Because when we listen with our ears, and we see in faith, we are able to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives. And that gives us joy of serving this God who totally loves us. And that gives us reason to be joyful, dear friends. That gives us reason to rejoice because Jesus is always present in our lives.
And amidst all the distractions that continues to pull us away, the Lord continues to ask us:-
Are you willing to humble yourselves, be obedient to His will and show your love for Jesus?
And as we were preparing for the camp yesterday, the primary student prepared mangers for the child Jesus. They prepared mangers and the small little Jesus, the figurines of Jesus were placed in that manger. And there were so much excitement, so much of joy, so much of enthusiasm in how the little ones prepare their hearts with so much of enthusiasm, with so much of love, with so much of excitement.
And we need to restore those kinds of relationships, dear friends. We need to restore those kind of enthusiasm of who God is in our lives. Because sometimes we may tend to let God be as just the appendix or the supplements of our lives. We need to bring Him to the center stage of everything that we do. We need to allow the love of God to consume us and move us forward. Whatever people may say, whatever people may distract us with, let us be steadfast and allow the Lord to be the Lord and Saviour of our lives.
As the Gospel Acclamation says today:-
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor.
It is an invitation for you and I, dear friends, not to just keep Jesus for ourselves but to share that Jesus with one another. Because the spirit of the Lord has been given to us – to share the blessings, the joy and the love that God has for us. Not only for ourselves but for one another.
And let us make this witness of faith during this time of Christmas and this time of Advent, a time that we reach out to one another in love. Each one of us, dear friends, have our own trials, our own challenges, our own obstacles. And let us be kind towards one another in ensuring that the love of God continues to be magnified in everything that we do and in humble obedience declare Him as our Lord and Saviour so that He can come to save us and bring that true meaning of Christmas back into our lives.
Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-