HOMILY FOR 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR B
THEME: Coming with New Life
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Isaiah 61:1-2.10-11; Resp.Psalm Luke 1; 1Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8.19-28 .
1. Today is the third Sunday of Advent, and it is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. The word “Gaudete” is Latin imperative verb meaning “Rejoice”. The atmosphere of this Sunday liturgy and readings is that of joy in the imminence of the liberating activity of God which is experienced in diverse ways. In fact, one of the best ways to appreciate the readings of this third Sunday of Advent is to pose the question: What is Jesus coming to do? The question can also be contextualized and personalized: What is he coming to do in our land and society that is gradually losing the joy of living in the face of many negative forces? What is he coming to do in my life? Do we really need him? In what ways do we need him today?
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2. The first reading from Isaiah 61:1-2.10-12 says he is coming to bring good news to the poor and proclaim a year of favour, a jubilee year. Three grades of poor people are identified as beneficiaries of this exceptional good tidings: the broken hearted, captives and those in prison. These represent all incarcerated by the negative forces that rub them the joy of living freely. All these are to be set free. The presence of Jesus, thus, means liberation for all whose ability to function effectively in the society is undermined by forces greater than them.
3. The responsorial psalm, taken from the Marian magnificat in Luke 1, sees the presence of Jesus as the experience of joy brought about by a reversal which God effects in favour of the poor and marginalized: He feeds the poor with good things and sends the rich away empty.
4. The second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians sees the presence of Jesus as a cause for joy and happiness. In a society filled with factors that incline to sorrow and anguish, the text encourages us to be happy always and hold on to what is good. As long as we focus on the good things we shall continue to overcome all the nihilistic forces of hopelessness and death. The logic is that God has called us and He will never fail us.
5. The Gospel text from John 1 sees the coming of Jesus as the coming light. Those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death have cause to rejoice. John the Baptist is sent to bear witness to this light so that people can recognize him when he comes.
Most of the time we fail to recognize the presence of Jesus because we take it for granted. Sometimes other forces and personages obstruct our vision as they wretchedly present themselves as the light but only end up worsening our darkness. They are simply impostors and false messiahs! John the Baptist gives us a lesson in humility as he presents himself only as a guide to the real light and true Messiah.
May God guide us to assimilate the immense riches of His message this joyful Sunday, and may His blessings be upon us now and forever! Please do something to make others or someone truly happy today!
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