Third Sunday of Advent (C)

The third Sunday of Advent, is called Gaudete Sunday[1]. Gaudate means ‘rejoice’ and certainly joy and happiness is the mood of readings today.

In the last few weeks the readings have been centering on the crisis side of life, but with the first reading today, we are told two times not to fear. God will be with us, he will be in our midst, and we should not let anything discourage us. The final words of the First Reading are joyous and anticipatory: The savior who is to come will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love. The second reading again stresses Gaudate – Rejoice! Why? Is simple: The Lord is near! And this Lord will bring a peace, God’s peace, which surpasses anything that we have ever known. So don’t be afraid to pray to God and ask him anything, but do it with thanks in your heart for you know He will hear you. Advent, unlike Lent, although at the altar we wear the same purple color (except for today!), is not a sad season, but rather is a season of approaching joy, a season of peace and harmony.

With the Gospel today, three times the question is asked: What are we to do? Such a good question! How many times have we been asking ourselves: What am I going to do? Christmas is 2 weeks away and I’m not ready for it – maybe all my gifts haven’t been purchased or wrapped, maybe my cards still haven’t been sent. What am I to do? Maybe I haven’t had the time to meditate on the advent themes to prepare myself for Christ’s coming. What am I to do? Maybe I don’t have time for my family because I am working and driving all the time. What am I to do? Maybe I have not been feeling well, or someone close to me is ill. What am I to do? Maybe there are difficulties in my relationship with my wife or my husband. What am I to do? Maybe people around me are suffering – from sickness, alcoholism, depression, addictions. What am I to do?

This is the same question that people were asking John the Baptist 2000 years ago, and you know, the human condition hasn’t changed, we are the same, and we should be able to easily identify with all three groups of questioners, I mean, we still are selfish, we still are greedy and we still abuse power, and peace will not come if these conditions prevail. So, at this third Sunday of Advent… What am I to do?

Our messiah is coming, so we need to cleanse and prepare ourselves by looking at our life, we need to be socially aware, and we need not be afraid to ask for help and thank our God.

Moreover, we do not lose sight of the Year of Faith, both times –the Year of Faith and the Advent- are invitations, great opportunities. In our personal prayer is a question that must be present: Lord, my God, when I'm coming back to you and the friendship with you?

And of course, we must look at Mary. She is the great support of our fragility. A few days ago the Pope said something very interesting: «The light that emanates from the figure of Mary helps us also to understand the true meaning of original sin. In Mary, in fact, that relationship with God that sin destroys is totally alive and active. In her there is no opposition between God and her being: there is complete communion, complete understanding. There is a reciprocal “yes,” of God to her and of her to God. Mary is free from sin because she is wholly of God, totally expropriated for him. She is full of his grace of his love»[2]

[1] Sunday 16th December, 2012, 3rd Sunday of Advent. V. Zephaniah 3:14-18. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 12:2-6. Philippians 4:4-7. Luke 3:10-18.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris