15 Dec – Third Sunday of Advent
The Joy Of Expectancy
At his coming Christ fulfilled the expectations of the prophets. He made the blind see again, the lame walk, and the lepers clean. We must not lose heart in face of all the evils of the world, for we too have a glorious expectation.
Come, Lord Jesus, and save us.
Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.
They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.
Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’
Go back and tell John what you hear and see, …, and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me
Sometimes I think Christians do not believe the message which we are asked to believe. The sullen faces in which I see some put on as they attend Mass or when they use their mobile phones during the Liturgy of the Word instead of paying close attention makes me sometimes wonder if perhaps we can consider very carefully what is being proclaimed to us.
The readings which we encounter today are messages of joy because we are in the halfway mark of Advent. This season reminds us of the importance of prayer and reflection in our lives to know what God expects from us in our worship. When we hear something as joyous and important as the Gospel, we need to ask ourselves why we hold our current response. Jesus did not give John a direct answer but that is the answer which we are supposed to be proclaiming in our lives.
We need to proclaim the message to those blinded by greed, crippled by sin, those being ignored by society, deafened by the message of the world and those whose soul needs reviving for life. We are the messengers of the Good News. The world needs us to be the beacon of hope in what would otherwise be an unhappy world. Are we ready for that?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for the spirit of joy to hear you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who love God.