Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: Season of Faith
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday December 15 2019
*THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A*
The profundity of faith opens us up to the clarification of many doubts which the vicissitudes of human existence present to us. In fact, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), and it is through faith that our relationship with God is sustained; the type of faith that is manifested in good works (James 2:17). Life is only meaningful when lived with faith in God! Our preparation for the Advent of the Holy One must be propelled by this type of faith; the faith that clears our doubts and leads us to believe and the faith that is lived in good works. May we receive daily from God this beautiful gift of faith; Amen.
Beyond being a Season of Hope, the Advent Season is also a Season of faith. It is truly faith that empowers the grossly finite human reason, to leap beyond its natural confines to have a grasp of the great mysteries of God. Faith itself, being a supernatural gift from God to the human soul, enables us to come to know God and the mystery of His presence in our midst, especially in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Man of the Advent. This faith is fundamentally joyful – _Gaudium Fidei_ ! The liturgical setting of today beautifully knits this faith and joy in the title for which the Third Sunday of Advent is known; _Gaudete Sunday_ . This title is taken from the very first word of the Latin version of the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass “Gaudete in Domino semper – Rejoice in the Lord always.” Most visible in the liturgy of this unique Sunday in the Liturgical Calendar is the rare liturgical colour _rose_ that is worn by the priest and with which also the Altar is dressed. “Rose is a lighter version of violet, because today the penitential violet is mixed with the white of the approaching festival.” This white that is mixed with the usual violet to give us the colour rose is a perceptible sign of the joy that must bubble in our hearts in a happy expectation of “He Who came and Who is to come.” This joy is inspired by the very content of our expectation; Christ the Lord. This joy ignites our preparation and helps us see clearer and brighter the Light at the end of the tunnel. Reading through the words of the prophet Isaiah in the First Reading (Is 35:1-6, 10), this joy makes most attentive and receptive our spiritual and physical senses to recognise the powerful manifestations in our midst wrought by the Coming One; of the blind that can now see, of the deaf that can now hear, of the lame that can now walk and of the dumb that now sings for joy. Surely, “they will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces; joy and gladness will go with them and sorrow and lament be ended.” This movement from the initial position of the people towards Zion is a gesture of preparation. To fittingly prepare for Christ our Advent, we must make shift from every contrary and contradictory position and head towards Zion, the place where God dwells, where God is found. This movement is borne out of faith and sustained by the joy that comes from faith in God.
This joyful faith dispels our doubts! The doubts that come to us out of the exigencies of our human condition. The type of doubt that must have enwrapped John the Baptist, and seeing himself helpless in prison, before the very eyes and knowledge of the “One Who is to Come”, he sent his disciples to ask from Jesus “are you the one Who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?” We must be careful never to give in to the force of certain blows that come to us on the journey of life. Their aim is to make us dwindle and to fall into despair and eventually into doubts about the content of our faith. This was the experience of John the Baptist in the Gospel of Today (Mt 11:2-11). On the contrary, as Christians, we are called to live in faith and never in doubt. Through faith we encounter our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our certainty and certitude and in Him all of our doubts are dispelled. Through the power of His presence, “the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in Him.” This is the reason for the joy in us during this Season. The joy of our faith in the Lord! The joy that comes from our faith and enriches the same faith to be steadfast and patient and never losing its focus “because the Lord’s coming will be soon” (James 5:7-10). The joy that opens us up in faith to sincerely and fruitfully receive the Lord!
May the joy of our faith in the coming One enable and ennoble us to see and live beyond the obstacles of the present life and live in the light of the glory of the coming One; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE