Homily for Sunday of the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year A (8)

Homily for Sunday of the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year A


By: Fr JB Mbbah-Offor


Homily for Sunday December 15 2019

Is 35;1-6.10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee . Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the great, who had been king of Judea and the surrounding regions during the time of Jesus’ birth. The kingdom of Herod the Great broke up into smaller territories after his death. Herod Antipas received Galilee, and during the course of his reign, he arrested John the Baptist and imprisoned him because John rebuked him over his sin of taking his brother’s wife.

When John heard in prison about the deeds of  the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” The name “Christ” is a transliteration of the Greek word for “anointed” (tou Christou – the anointed one). Jesus began His ministry in Galilee (Matt 4:12-17). He called his disciples and ministered to the crowds that came to Him. He performed miracles, healed the sick and raised the dead.

John’s expectation of the Messiah that is to come could be seen from his preaching. According to John, “the person coming after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Mt 3:11-12). For John, the Messiah will be a dispenser of wrath. While in prison, he was not hearing anything about judgement coming soon. He had placed his hopes on the wrong signs. He expected a judge who would be hard on sinners; he saw instead one who came to save the lost.

John’s imprisonment raises the following questions: if God chose John to prepare the way for the one who is to come, what is John doing in prison? Why doesn’t an earthquake open the prison doors for John to come out? Why does God allow His prophet to sit through long empty days in prison?  People also ask similar questions today. Why does God allow the righteous to suffer? Where is God when bad things happen? Why doesn’t God reward us with riches since we attend church almost every day?  John has doubts, he decided to hear and learn what Jesus will say. Jesus responded to John’s disciples, “go and tell John the things you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up.

Many people think that God has given them a tough life, whereas some others are having an easy life. Sometimes we feel that we suffer far more than others. But this is simply not the case. Everyone has unique troubles. Your friends may not have the same trouble as yours; you may not have the same problem as mine. Everyone has their own share of struggle but the Lord has promised to be with us and deliver us from all our troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all (psalm 34:19).

Happy Sunday!

Fr JB Mbbah-Offor

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