Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: WHEN ALL HELPERS AND HOPE FAIL
By: Fr. Christian Eze
Homily for Sunday December 15 2019
First reading – Is. 35:1-6
Second reading – James 5:7-10
Gospel – Matt. 11:2-11
Who is a faithful man/woman? This is a question that may likely be given several answers. However, in the context of our topic, we can see a faithful man/woman as that person who still hopes and strongly believes that it is well; and God is there even when, in the expressions of H. Lyte (composer of the hymn ABIDE WITH ME): when other helpers fail, and comforts flee. Perhaps another way of understanding the plight of John the Baptist in today’s gospel is saying that the high hopes he had on Christ, the messiah was dashed. Not John alone, many people today appear to have lost hope both in God and man. But on this third week of Advent, the Church encourages us to still keep our hopes high. It is not yet time to give up – “…happy is the man who does not lose faith in me…” Mtt. 11:6
Although not included in the story line of today’s readings, let us analyze the faith of the woman, Jochebed the wife of Amram in Ex. 6:20 when she refused to give up even when all hope seems to be gone; when she put her son in a basket and dropped by the river side. We are familiar with the story of the people of Israel in Ex. 1, and how Pharaoh issued a decree to exterminate every male child in order to wipe the Jews off completely. Oppressions of this kind abound. Social system could sometimes become unfair to some people just as in today’s gospel, John found himself in a very unjust imprisonment. Situations abound where the rich oppress the poor. This was the scenario when this woman gave birth to her son.
Acts of the Apostles 7:20 describes the baby as a fine boy. Moses could have been slaughtered like any other male children killed then. Amram and Jacobed the parents of Moses believed God had special plans for their child; put Moses in basket covered with pitch and tar and set the basket in the shallow waters of the river. While the Hebrews cried out to God to deliver them, Moses’ mother placed Moses in a basket into the river, trusting that God will intervene. She strategically placed Moses in his basket in the Nile River- directly in the path of a Miracle. Jacobed woke up in a slave hut that morning, but by the end of the day she was moving into the King’s Palace. How real God’s words are! Happy is the man who does not lose faith in the Son of Man.
There could be seen a connection between the number three – Third week of Advent, and the three months Moses’ mother hid him. First week has gone, the second, and now the third, we are still expecting the Lord. It could represent your counting while still waiting on God for a particular thing. It is just as Jecobed waited first month, second month and third, trusting that may be Pharaoh might change his mind, which never happened. The interesting thing in the number three as it occurs many places in the bible is that a Divine action always followed. After Moses’ three months of hiding, a divine action followed. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days; Jesus was in the tomb for three days. There are three persons in one God. A Divine action awaits you, who knows, if you don’t give up. And note that the number three we mean is not a human counting but God’s own counting.
Many who have exhausted all they trusted in, instead of turning to the Lord, they are surrendering. Jacobed did not surrender. She took courage even when the water was moving with and around her son. Do not ever surrender. Psalm 46:10 tells us: be still and know that I am God. When it became dark in the day for the Israelites, Moses told them: fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them no more. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace- Exodus 14:13. In 2 Chronicles 20:14, Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (We pray with Jehoshephat and Israel) God will come.
He will fight for us. BECAUSE HE LIVES…