Homily Third Sunday of Advent Year B Rejoice

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Homily: Third Sunday of Advent Year B

 

Reading 1: The call of the first Sunday of Advent was: Be watchful!  Be alert! For the Lord is coming in the present moment in preparation for his final coming in glory. Last Sunday we were urged to prepare the way for his coming by conducting ourselves in holiness and devotion, namely by removing sin from our lives. This Sunday, we are encouraged to rejoice and have an attitude of joy. True joy is a sign of the Lord’s presence. As the first reading proclaimed: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord; in my god is the joy of my soul.”

 

In the first part of the first reading, Isaiah prophesies that the spirit of the Lord will anoint the promised Messiah and empower him with the mission of preaching the good news of God: love, to heal the sick and to set free those captive in the bonds of sin. All will be done as an external manifestation of God’s favor and mercy.

 

Jesus experienced the fulfillment of this prophetic promise at the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. Both he and John rejoiced. Later, Jesus shared his awareness of God’s favor upon him, when he proclaimed this same passage in the synagogue in Nazareth. But instead of rejoicing the people turned against him, refusing to accept that he was the promised One. Regardless, Jesus went about preaching, healing and setting captives free from the power of Satan. Those who accept him, rejoiced. Those who did not remained in their darkness.

 

Gospel: John, even in his austere life and mission, rejoice to prepare the way and to testify to the light of the world that was already among the people, but as yet had not been recognized. John rejoiced to be able to call people to repent as a way of preparing their hearts to recognizing and accepting the Messiah.

 

John acknowledged that he himself was not the Messiah. He said that his baptism was only a preparation sign of the saving baptism the Messiah will offer. Later, john sent some of his disciples to Jesus to confirm that John was right in pointing Jesus as the Lamb of God, the One to come.  Jesus again used signs and wonders he was doing—preaching, healing, setting captives free—as his response. John dis what God had sent him to do, namely, prepare the way, point the Messiah out, be faithful even in death

 

Reading 2: Paul picks up and continues the theme of rejoicing in the Lord. What he states sounds impossible. “Rejoice always.” As difficult as we may think this is, it is not impossible, not if the Lord is the source and end of our joy. But Paul is practical. Joy is also a result of a life being lived in Christ. He says, “Pray without ceasing—again this seems impractical. Not so, if we realize that prayer is a reflection of one’s relationship with God. Prayer is being aware of God’s presence and being in his presence and seeking to live the present moment in and for the Lord. Not impossible is our prayer is one of gratitude for God’s leading us in the present moment. Not impossible if we are attentive to the grace moment of the Holy Spirit in different situati0ons of our daily life, helping us to refrain from what is sinful.  Not impossible if we realize that it is God who is helping us to grow in holiness as we prepare to receive Christ now in the present moment as well as when he comes in glory.

 

Are we a joyful person for the most part or we a disgruntled, sad, angry person? When we are a joyful person in the Lord, what is different in our life and when we are not? What happens within us?

 

As we are watchful and preparing our hearts to welcome the present coming of Christ into our live, be joyful in anticipation and in celebration. Mary and Joseph anticipated the birth of Jesus and rejoiced. The shepherds on hearing the message of the angels hastened to find the new born Messiah and rejoiced. The Magi rejoiced. Simon and Anna rejoiced. Jesus brings joy to those who are ready to receive and respond to him in a fresh new way into their lives. His joy is contagious and so should our joy be. Someone has said: “The joy of God is man fully alive.” 

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