Scripture: Lectionary 7. Sunday of Advent (3rd) A cycle. Isaiah 35:1-6.10. Psalm 146:6-7,8-9,9-10. James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.

Gaudete! Be joyful because the Lord is coming soon and the prophets and evangelists are bringing us good tidings of joy and peace. We are summoned to awake for the night is far spent and the dawn of a new day alerts us to be prepared for the Lord is coming soon. We note that the third candle is lit on the Advent wreath; sometimes it is a violet or purple candle to catch our notice. It brings anticipated joy to us and helps us to center ourselves on the Birth of Jesus who is the center of our concern in this fast moving Advent season. Christmas is only a novena away.

Again our prophet of Advent, Isaiah, announces to us the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God. We meet in Zion our spiritual home in Isaiah and we sing with gladness and joy the psalms and songs of the Temple. There is no time for mourning or sorrow.

In the Epistle of James we are advised to do two things. First, we are to be very patient as we await the coming of the Lord and secondly, we are not to be grumbling or making sport of one another. Kindness is the call for Church participants and community members. The time of our redemption is at hand.

We take note that Jesus has been telling us much about John the Baptist in the past week and this will continue in this third week of Advent ;thus we have eight readings within two weeks of Gospel readings. John will lead us to preparing the way for the Lord; Mary will be with us in the final week of Advent to give us the most personal experiences of the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord.

John sends his disciples to go to this man Jesus and ask him if he is the one who is to come—a way of saying is he the Messiah promised by the prophets. Jesus tells the disciples of John that he is doing what the prophet Isaiah predicted about the messianic times—curing the sick, the blind, the lame; taking care of those who have no one to depend upon but God. The way has been prepared for the Messiah and he is at work doing the Father’s will. Bring this news back to John the Baptist, you, his disciples. They do and the loving words and actions of Jesus continue. Jesus also reaffirms who John the Baptist is by asking the crowd about whom did they go out to see in the desert? Was it a reed shaken by the wind? Someone clothed in princely garments? No! It was the one who Jesus declares as the greatest born of a woman named Elizabeth, a cousin of Jesus’ mother. Case closed. The Baptist reigns as our Advent Guide this week. Let us rejoice and be glad. The way has been prepared. All we have to do is to turn ourselves around to be on that way that leads not only to the crib but also the cross, the grave, and the kingdom. Come, Lord Jesus, Come….Maranatha. Amen.

Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.