Third Sunday of Advent
In our Catholic liturgical calendar this is “Gaudete Sunday — the Sunday of Joy. We’re half way through Advent and the vestment color is Rose, rather than purple, the color of penitence. So, we see the celebrant in rose vestments.
This is supposed to be a joyful time of year but . . . some us don’t see things clearly, or can’t speak up for ourselves or are disabled. some of us are afraid / disillusioned / confused / depressed / lonely / weak-kneed and in need of a good old-fashioned infusion of hope and joy, so . . .
Today’s first reading from Isaiah 35:1-6,10 sums up the joyful, hopeful mood of this third Advent Sunday:
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.
In the Gospel today, while he was in prison, John’s disciples go to Jesus to ask him,
Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?
Jesus said to them in reply,
Go and tell John what you see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear [ . . .] and the poor have the good news preached to them.
John’s joy is to witness the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation and to play his assigned role within it. . . The way of fidelity to God and cooperation with God’s gift of himself to world leads through dungeons of human injustice and cruelty . . . . John is always acting as one whose every fiber is oriented to serving a greater good than himself. John’s humility takes the form of an ability to wait without end for God to act.
My spiritual director some time ago suggested I pray to John the Baptist, and so I do so now . . .
O John, how lovingly you served your Lord.
I am dumbfounded at my own lack of humility,
my refusal to serve, my paltriness when I do serve.
You inspire me, even in my later years to wait upon my God to act in my life,
to wait for him to do new things.
Thank you, John, for your service-unto-death;
I ask for me the grace, the strength and the courage to also serve my Lord unto the end of my days.
To get you in a joyful mood I have a surprise for you ~ the hallelujah Chorus sung in a shopping mall during lunch by opera singers mingled with the munchers. This is truly amazing and lots of fun. Click here. Turn up your speakers and enter full screen. Turn up your speakers and enter full screen.
(With our joyful gratitude to Alphabet photography.)