HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A (Gaudete Sunday).
THEME: What is Jesus actually coming to do?
BY: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe.
Within this period of advent, as we prepare for the arrival of Christ, some might be asking of what physical value will Christ’s arrival be to them. As the savior, what kind of salvation will he bring? Will he save us from the economic dungeon and bad leadership we have found ourselves? Will his arrival bring peace to our troubled world? Will he create jobs, reconcile political opposites and administer justice to the oppressed? These are pertinent questions that yearn for answers.
John the Baptist in the Gospel reading (Mt. 11:2-11) also found himself asking this type of question. He was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel and it was not out of place for him to think that Christ whose arrival would bring liberty to captives, would at least visit him in prison or liberate him from the hands of Herod. When Christ’s visit to his prison room was not forthcoming, he had to send his disciples to ask if he is actually the Christ. Of course, he is the Christ but he has a special mission.
Today, Christ revealed his true identity and mission to John’s disciples. He did not describe himself in terms of what people defined him to be but in terms of the mission he was accomplishing among the people. Even today, Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever still describes himself as one who makes the blind see, the lame to walk, the lepers to be clean, the deaf to hear, the dead to be raised to life and the Good News to be proclaimed to the poor. He remains the same for He is an unchanging God.
What conception do you have about him? Even as Christmas approaches, what do you expect from him? Perhaps many of us would want Christ to assist them acquire a brand new car for Christmas or other materials. But in a special way, Jesus has come to grant us spiritual healing. He has come to heal us of our spiritual blindness, spiritual lameness, spiritual leprosy, spiritual deafness, spiritual death and ignorance.
We are spiritually blind when we cannot see the signs God is showing us, when we can’t read the handwriting on the wall and when we cannot see the need to be more closely united with Him. We are spiritually lame when we find it very difficult to worship with others in the Church on Sundays or when we are unable to do good. We suffer from spiritual leprosy when our soul is filled with the filth of sin and when nothing holy can be comfortable around us. We are spiritually deaf when we find it very difficult to listen to or obey the voice of God. We are spiritually dead when we are no longer conscious of ourselves spiritually, when we make no effort to better our lives. We are ignorant when we are unable to understand the Good News.
Beloved friends, at the moment, it is possible that you may be passing through difficult times and expecting that Jesus’ coming at Christmas will bring you help. Even if you are not finding life easy, do not panic, do not lose hope for St. James in the second reading (James 5:7-10) asks us to be patient. The Lord has not forgotten you. The Lord sees how much you have suffered. As the first reading (Isaiah 35: 1-6, 10) says, he is coming. He is coming to save us and to restore our joy but his coming will have more of spiritual effects. All those who are spiritually blind who cannot see His presence in the world will be given the sight to see Him. Those who are spiritually deaf and cannot hear His voice talk to us will be given the faculty to hear His consoling voice directly. All those who are spiritually lame and cannot journey with him through the events of their lives would receive the power to walk with him even across the sea. All those suffering from spiritual leprosy (sin) and have been quarantined outside of God’s mercy will be spiritually cleansed and admitted into the abode of God’s mercy. Those who are dead in sin would be raised up to a life where grace would abound in them. Because of these great things Jesus is coming to do in our lives, the Church invites us to rejoice (Gaudete) and that is why today is called “Gaudete Sunday”.
But this salvation is not attainable by default. We cannot sit without doing anything and wait for him to save us. We have to make effort. The effort we have to make is simply to reach out to him. We can find him in our brothers and sisters who are rejected and forgotten. This is a period to share our joy with them. Perhaps, the joy we share with another today may be God’s way of blessing that person. Can God use you as a channel to reach another person? Happy Sunday. God loves you.
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