Homily Third Sunday of Advent Year A Joy and doubt

By 10:53 AM


Homily Third Sunday of Advent Year A


Reading 1: To understand Isaiah’s words, we have to put ourselves back in his time. The people of Israel had been conquered by their enemies because they did not live up to their covenant with God. They are in exile. In the midst of this desolate reality, Isaiah gives a message of hope.


 Isaiah finds joy even when things look bleak. Isaiah is prophesying what will happen when the promised Messiah comes. Nature itself will rejoice with celebration, the desert will bloom.  Isaiah sees beyond the weak hands, trembling knees, and lost hearts. He reminds the people that they will see the glory of God.  He reassures the Chosen People: “Be strong. Fear not. Be prepared. The Messiah comes to save us.” This is the reason for Isaiah’s joy: the promise of God to save them. How will they know? What the prophet hold on to is the conviction that everything will be transformed: Signs and wonders will occur: the blind will see; the deaf hear, the crippled will walk, and the mute will speak.


When the people returned from exile they experienced the initial fulfillment of God’s prophetic word. Jerusalem was desolate, but in time with the encouragement of God they rebuilt the city and the Temple and the glory of God returned to the Temple. But we know that the real fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfill by Jesus, who saved us from our sins and restored us to a sharing in God’s own life.


Gospel: John is in prison. He wants to make sure he made the right decision in pointing out Jesus as the Messiah. The doubt that John is expressing is not a questioning of his belief but a question of clarity. John had his own expectations about what the Messiah would do once he came. He thought he would be a fiery prophet like himself, condemning the sinners. John’s expectation was that Jesus would take up his prophetic mantel and continue to confront directly those who were not living righteously. The way Jesus was ministering was different than the way John ministered and expected Jesus to minister.


Instead, Jesus reassures his cousin that just as he fulfilled the plan of God, preparing for his coming, so Jesus himself is fulfilling the plan of God but in a different way. Fiery preaching was John’s method, Signs and wonders are Jesus’

Credentials. He preaches and confirms his words with signs and wonders or he performs signs and wonders with a teaching following.


Jesus say, “You John came in the spirit of Elijah, calling the people to repentance and confronting the powers to be head on. As Elijah’s life was threatened by Jezebel the queen, your life is threatened by the wife of Herod.” John fulfilled his role and suffered beheading in witness to his words. Jesus will suffer crucifixion in fulfillment of the words of the prophets.


We rejoice that John fulfilled his role in life, even though he was martyred for his conviction. We rejoice that Jesus fulfilled his role as Savior, even though he was crucified. Like Paul, we glory in Christ crucified, because through his death we have been saved and given a share in the life of God.



Reading 2: Isaiah was preparing the people for the first coming of the Messiah. Jesus is preparing us for his present and final coming.  Paul tells us that while we wait in patience and with firm hearts for his second coming, we need to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in the present moment. How? We are called not to complain about one another, not judge others, but endure suffering from others as Christ did for our sake. We are called to keep our eyes on the coming of the Lord and not be distracted by the slights and criticism from others. It takes a bigger person to bless and not curse, to turn the other cheek and not strike back.


You Might Also Like