Third Sunday of Advent
Are You Getting Ready to Rejoice?
There is a story told about a man from New Orleans, Louisiana, who had to travel to St. Louis on business. This was years ago when Christians kept Sunday as a very special day. For this man, “keeping the Sabbath day holy,” also meant not riding the trains on Sunday. Therefore, after he finished up his business late Saturday night, he had to stay over in St. Louis until the following Monday. On Sunday morning, he left the hotel looking for a place to worship. The streets were quite empty, but finally he saw a policeman and asked him for directions to the nearest church. The stranger thanked the policeman for the information and was about to walk off then he turned and asked the policeman: “Excuse me sir, why have you recommended me to that particular church?” The policeman smiled and replied: “I am not a church man myself. However, I believed it is the Catholic Church because the people who come out of that church are the happiest looking church people in the city and they claim that they have received Jesus and joyfully taking Him to their homes. I thought that would be the kind of church you would like to attend!”
Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. The theme for our first week was: Let Every Heart Prepare and on the second week was: Listen to the Voice. And the theme for this week is: Get Ready. Today, the Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, “Rejoice Sunday”; the Scripture for today reminds us that every Sunday must be a Rejoice Sunday. Today also we light the rose candle, the priest and deacon may wear rose vestments, to express our joy in the coming of Jesus, our Savior. The common idea running through today’s readings is that of encouraging joy as we meet our need for the preparation required of us who wait the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts, lives and homes. Such as the prophet Isaiah, Mary and John the Baptist all bear joyful witness to what God has done and will do for his people. How about us, are we ready to bear joyful witness to one another?
Indeed, the readings for the third Sunday of Advent remind us that the past, present, and future coming of Jesus is the reason for our rejoicing. The first reading, the prophet Isaiah tells us that we should rejoice because the promised messiah is coming as our savior and liberator, saving us by liberating us from our bondages. And in the second reading, St. Paul urges us to rejoice always by leading blameless, holy and thankful lives guided by the Holy Spirit, because Christ is faithful to His promise that He will come again to reward us.
Lastly, the gospel tells us that John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light, Jesus. The coming of Jesus the light into the world is cause for rejoicing as He removes darkness from our daily lives and the world. We should get ready and also be glad and rejoice because like John the Baptist, we too, are chosen to bear witness to Jesus, the light of the world. We are to reflect His light in our lives so that we may radiate it and illuminate the dark lives of others around us. Are you ready from now on when we come out of the church to be the happiest looking church people in West Palm Beach and to claim that we have received Jesus and joyfully taking Him to our homes?
Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord'
as Isaiah the prophet said."