Rejoice, wait patiently

Sunday readings in brief 3 Advent A

Isaiah 35:1-6,10; Psalm 145(146); James 5:7-10; Mathew 11:2-11

Rejoice, wait patiently

Dear friends, today is the third Sunday of Advent commonly known as Gaudate Sunday meaning rejoice. As we come to the middle of the Advent period, we are reminded of the joy that is coming to us through the birth of Jesus the Messiah. That the promises made to us through the prophets of the old will soon be a reality.

In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah is encouraging the people of Israel who had been under Assyrian captivity that soon their predicament would be a thing of the past. There will be new life on the land that was devastated. The messianic prophecy of restoring justice and strength to the oppressed would come through Christ Jesus.

In the second reading, St. James is urging us to wait for the day of the Lord’s coming patiently the way a farmer waits for the plants to germinate, grow, mature and give fruits. Meanwhile, he is urging that there should not be any complaints among us because the day of the Lord will also be the day of judgement.

When Jesus launched his manifesto in Lk 4:18-19, Jesus declared the mission given to him by the Father on earth, that he had come to preach good news to the poor, the blind to see again, the release of the prisoners, and to declare the acceptable year to the Lord. Today in the gospel passage from Mathew, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah who was to come. Jesus simply asks them to go back and tell John what they saw. The works of the messiah were well known to all of Israel through the prophecy of Isaiah (Is 61:1-2).

Dear friend, we have a lot of pain devastating many in the world. Many people are losing hope in life because of the sufferings and captivity they are going through even to the point of taking their own lives and that of their close family members. The climate change effects are driving many insane, especially among the pastoralist and farming communities. There is death everywhere and many feel helpless. World organizations and state governments are not able to mitigate its effects. What is left for us is hope and trust in God that he will not let us perish. However, each one of us is invited to repent and stop anything we do that may be aggravating the problem.

Dear friends, we cannot sit down and lament about droughts and famines while we continue to cut trees without planting more. We cannot lament about the lack of peace when we keep on provoking our neighbour. The majority of the problems facing the world today are man-made and if we are honest, patient and willing to change, we can reverse most of them in due time.

We must come together in our communities, talk about climate change, governance, justice and peace, and strategize on the way forward. Our children need to be introduced to such conversations at an early age. Our Small Christian Communities must be schools for behaviour change and not political meetings or merry-go-round platforms. The curriculum in schools needs to be enriched with human ethics programs and not examination-oriented. In a nutshell, our institutions need transformation in order to respond to the problems facing our society today.

As we wait joyfully for our saviour to be born anew in our lives, I invite us to introspect and see whether we are doing enough to bring positive change to our world or if we are busy causing more destruction.

Have a joyful Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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