Homily Third Sunday of Advent Year B Rejoice

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Homily for Third Sunday of Advent Year B

Reading 1: There are two parts to this prophetic word from Isaiah. The first part we are familiar with. It is a reference concerning the future messiah. This prophetic statement Jesus applied to himself as to what happened to him when he was baptized. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and anointed him to do a ministry of preaching, healing and setting captives free.  After his baptism and after his temptation in the desert, Jesus returned to Galilee and began preaching. He later returns to Nazareth his home town and enters the synagogue on the Sabbath. There they asked him to do the reading. He chooses this passage from Isaiah. Afterwards, he simply stated that this message was now fulfilled in their hearing. In other words, he was the one Isaiah was speaking about.

The second part of the prophecy reflects Jesus response to the prophetic word, namely, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.” It should also be the response we make to what Jesus has done for each of us through his life, death, resurrection and the sending of the Spirit upon us.  We received the gift and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and a fresh anointing and empowering in Confirmation.

 Like Jesus, we are to rejoice in the Lord, who is the source of our joy.  For God, in wrapping his mantle of justice around us, has shared his own divine life with us. We are his adopted sons and daughters, called to share in his life and glory forever.

Gospel: The same Spirit that Isaiah prophesied about was upon John the Baptist. It was a prophetic spirit, which he did not quench. Instead, John witnessed and gave testimony about the immediate coming of the promised Messiah that Isaiah and other prophets had spoken of.

In his prophetic ministry, John was sent to prepare and identify the Messiah. He knew this. So when he was questioned about his own identity and mission, John was very clear. He was not the Messiah, but only the voice preparing the way for the actual coming of the Messiah. John knew that his baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin was a preparation for the real baptism with water and the Spirit that the Messiah will call people into.

As we hear the message of John today, what do we think he is saying to us? Is he showing us what we should be doing? What is that? First, we are to recognize that the Spirit of God has anointed us in Confirmation to be witnesses of Jesus, the light of the world. Secondly, we are to testify to him so that others may be so convicted by this message of truth and follow Jesus in the way of holiness and prophetic witnessing.

Reading 2: While the first reading prepared the people for the future coming of the Messiah, today’s second reading focuses us on the future, second coming of Jesus in glory.  How are we to prepare?  Paul picks up the theme of rejoicing from Isaiah. He urges us to always rejoice. Are we a people of joy?  As Christians, do we, in the words of Pope Francis, look like people coming from a funeral rather than from seeing the resurrection?

Paul says, pray without ceasing. This means to be in an attitude of prayer throughout our day and be aware that we are in the presence of God and act accordingly. Is that our attitude?

We are called to give thanks in all circumstances. How grateful are we throughout our day for even small things?

Isaiah said that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us and has anointed us. Paul says that we should not stifle the work of the Spirit.

Last Sunday, we were told that God has called us to be holy and blameless in his sight. Paul says that it is the grace given to each of us by God to be holy and blameless, as we prepare for the coming of Jesus in this present moment of our lives. How attentive and responsive are we to this grace?

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