December 11, 2016 Third Sunday of Advent Fr Jim Miller

Third Sunday of Advent
December 11, 2016

Reading 1IS 35:1-6A, 10

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

  1. (cf. Is 35:4) Lord, come and save us.

Reading 2JAS 5:7-10

AlleluiaIS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

GospelMT 11:2-11

Homily— December 10 & 11, 201

  This is the Third Sunday of Advent, Advent is already half over!   It is also called Gaudete Sunday where we can wear rose colored vestments and light the rose colored candle on the Advent wreath and rejoice at the coming celebration of the birth of Our Savior.  

 The challenge is that as we wait for something in the future we find that our patience “wears thin” and we settle for something less.   The people of Israel were told of the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey but they decide to settle for a golden idol, a golden calf!!   Not a wise choice.

  We are preparing to meet the Lord at the end of our lives here on earth as well as at the end of all time, when he will appear in glory.  But we have no idea of when those events will occur.   We are told to be prepared.   We are to have a willingness to embrace those events as a source of joy and part of it is living each day in that light.

  Or are we just tired of waiting and ready to settle for less?   Are we satisfied to find our joy in an automobile with automatic start and heated seats or a smartphone that can do almost anything?   Do we become satisfied with the “joys” of good food and a nice vacation.

  There is a clear temptation to abandon hope for eternal life and become immersed in this world and all the good that it provides.   Are we going to settle for the less that this world offers?

  John the Baptist had lived his live in a very disciplined way in the desert.   He is a relative of Jesus.  He baptized Jesus but now he sends his disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

  John was in prison precisely for being true to his vocation.  He had denounced the immorality of a powerful man and was suffering the consequences.  Probably knowing he would never leave that place alive, he wondered what was to come of his mission.  Had he been correct that God’s judgment was immanent?   Was Jesus God’s chosen one or not?   Implicit in the question is the presumption that Jesus was not living up to John’s expectations.

  When John’s disciples approached Jesus they asked the question and got no direct answer.  Instead, Jesus told them to pay attention to what was right there to be heard and seen.  Jesus would not define his identity based on someone else’s criteria.  He consistently refused to fit any messianic job description people laid out for him.  Rather than give himself any title or role, he did just what John the Baptist had required of his followers:  he described the fruits of his ministry and invited John and the others to make their judgment on the basis of his works.  Jesus response to John’s disciples came straight from the writings of Isaiah, but not the vengeance of Isaiah 34.  Jesus was acting out Isaiah 35:  healing the blind and lame, curing the lepers, opening the ears of the deaf and raising the dead.  Jesus’ response to John’s disciples put their concept of God on trial.  If they believed in the God who protected the lowly and brought life to the people, then they could believe he had been sent by God.  If they believed in a god of coercion, retribution and violence, then Jesus was not the one they were seeking.

  What kind of God are you seeking?   Is Jesus Christ your Savior?