Reflection on the “Third Sunday of Advent”
Karachi (Fr. Mario Angelo Rodrigues): My dear friends today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.
As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts because the birth of our Savior means a lot to us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing soon when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead us into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni (“Come”) of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: “Come, Lord Jesus,” the last words of the New Testament.
In the first reading of today from the prophet Isiah (Is 35:1-6a, 10) we hear the hymn that celebrates the restoration of Jerusalem, the return of the exiles is compared to the exodus from slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land. Physical healings and prosperity will mark the renewal of the land of the chosen People.
In the second reading St. James in his letter (Jas 5:7-10) reiterates the call for patience in suffering and building of virtue.
In the Gospel reading (Mt 11:2-11) John the Baptist wants to confirm the coming of the Lord. Jesus reply is the sign of God Kingdom to come.
My dear friends today the question of John the Baptist is resounding in our ears confirming coming of the Lord Jesus. What is our response…can we like Jesus show the signs of God Kingdom to come. What do we have to show? Jesus said, “Go back and tell John what you see and hear; the blind see again, 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.” (Mt 11:4-6) these were the signs that Jesus showed them what signs do we have to show?
Will our signs be the rich are thronging the market place to complete their Christmas shopping? The rich are preparing their homes to celebrate Christmas. The rich are getting their Christmas attire ready. And the kitchen is bustling with the preparation of Christmas goodies. While the poor have nothing to eat, nothing to drink nothing to wear and nowhere to go…are these messianic signs or signs that the messiah is coming or are they signs of selfishness and signs of doom.
My dear friends this is a challenge for all of us can we make the difference can we bring forth messianic signs like beginning our preparation with the sacrament of reconciliation? Can we instead of thinking of ourselves and our families only also think of the poor, the naked, the hungry the thirsty, the homeless, the sick, the imprisoned, the downtrodden?
Fr. Mario is an active priest at Archdiocese of Karachi. He is working as a Rector at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Karachi.