HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR C
HOMILY THEME: Loving Relationship With Christ.
Canticle (Isaiah 12:2-3. 4. 5-6)
Today, the Church calls us to rejoice, to have joy in Christ. And this we do by entering into a loving relationship with Christ and advance in our journey of faith by loving others.
Through the Scripture Readings of today, as people who are preparing for ‘the Parousia,’ the 2nd Coming of Christ – we are given a glimpse of what that may be like. Yes, we will greet a victorious and glorious Lord – but one who comes among us and dances with us and joins in the songs of joy at our own salvation.
There is a story told of two buckets which were kept at a well. Of the two, one was always sad and gloomy, while the other was always happy and joyful. The happy one said to the sad one – “ What’s the matter with you? I see that you are always unhappy, sad and gloomy!” The sad one said – “Oh! It is my life. When I think of it I feel very bad and become so sad.” “What do you think of your life?” asked the first. The second replied – “Oh! when I look at my life – it is ever empty. See, however many times I come out of the well full, I always go to it empty and this emptiness makes me very very sad and gloomy.” “Oh!” said the first, “but I do not look at my life that way.” “How do you look at your life then?” inquired the second. The first replied – “Oh! I find my life always full. See, however many times I go into the well empty, I always come out full, and this fullness fills me with happiness & joy.”
This is our story too. Many of us do not know how to interpret our life. It is not the emptiness that we feel as we approach the Lord (the well of salvation…) that matters, but the fullness of joy and peace that we return with from the Lord that should be all that matters. As we prepare for the Nativity of our Lord the issues that surround us this Advent season are enormous. Once more this year we struggle to find peace – peace among the nations and among ethnic groups, peace in our own homeland, even in our homes, with the problem of dysfunctional families.
The problems of corruption too still plague us. There are those who steal money and there are those who cover them up. These problems are just so many, big and overwhelming. Amidst these difficulties we struggle to find peace. For many, At times like this, God can seem distant, even detached. Yet, this Sunday, we are reassured: He is closer than we realize. “The Lord is near,” Paul writes. And it’s not just because Christmas is 11 days away. It is so much more than that. In the great mystery we are about to remember and celebrate at Christmas—the Incarnation, the Word made flesh—we celebrate this astonishing fact: God became us. He invested Himself in humanity.
Therefore Paul wrote in the second reading, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” or as another translation has it, “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.” (Phil 4:4) Let us take note of where he says we will find our happiness, “in the Lord.” We will find our happiness by living the Christian life. But it is rather unfortunate that many of us seek happiness and peace in work of darkness.
In the Gospel from Luke, we find a very applicable question addressed to John the Baptist: “What must we do?” The people came forward to ask this question because they have sought peace and joy through different means -oppression of the poor, corrupt practices, etc, yet the peace and joy they sought eluded them still. So we should ask ourselves same question. “What must we do to have peace and joy?” In other words, how can we become the best version of ourselves and so find true joy in life. The response John gave was threefold- addressing three categories of audience. First was the crowd – the ordinary people, next were the Tax-collectors and the last group, the soldiers. We must find ways of sharing goods with those who are deprived. We must engage in honest stewardship of common goods, and finally we must be content with what we possess. John the Baptist challenges us to seek ways of sharing the little God has given; ways of being honest and grateful for what God has given us.
If we persist in the deeds of darkness, we shall be consumed by it.
So let me end today’s homily with another story:
From the shadows in the distance, the man watched as the family packed their bags in the car, locked the doors and then drove off for their holidays.
The man waited till it was dark and then he emerged from the shadows and he went to the front door and rang the door-bell of the house.
When there was no answer, the man, a seasoned burglar picked the lock of the front door and got in. Then just to be sure that no one was in the house, he called out, “Is there anyone in?”
Hearing nothing, he was about to move on, when he was stunned by a voice, “I see you, and Johnny sees you!”
The burglar panicked and called out, “Who’s that?”
And again, the voice came back, “I see you, and Johnny sees you!”
Terrified, the burglar switched on his torchlight and pointed it towards the direction of the voice.
He was relieved to see that it was a parrot in a cage and it recited once again, “I see you, and Johnny sees you!”
The burglar laughed to himself and said, “Oh, shut up stupid bird. Anyway, who is this Johnny? Is it another bird friend of yours?”
And the parrot replied, “Johnny is right below me!”
And the burglar shone his torch at what was below the parrot’s cage.
And there he saw Johnny, a huge Doberman, looking at the burglar with those eyes, and growling.
And then, the parrot said, “Go Johnny, go!”
The Liturgy is today is saying to us like the Parrot “I see you, and Jesus sees you!”
If we turn back on time, it will be good for us. If we continue deeper into the darkness, then we should be ready to devoured by what lurk around in the dark.
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya