Third Sunday Advent Homily Year B

Third Sunday Advent Homily Year B

Reading 1 IS 61:1-2A, 10-11
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

Responsorial Psalm LK 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54

R. (Is 61:10b) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
R. My soul rejoices in my God.

Reading 2 1 THES 5:16-24

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Alleluia IS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18) R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 1:6-8, 19-28

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,'”
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

 

Homily – Third Sunday Advent Homily Year B

Rejoice! The Lord is ‘Near!

“I exalt for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God” (Isa)

The festive meal is ready; the aroma of sumptuous dishes wafts through the air. Someone suggests, “Let’s say ‘Grace’!” and bursts into song, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” Soon, the room resounds with that most popular grace-before- meals’ hymn. “But,” protests a friend, “Can we rejoice during the season of Advent?” The ‘Entrance Antiphon’ for this third Sunday of Advent answers that query by proclaiming precisely this line (Phil 4:4) as the theme for today’s liturgy, adding, “The Lord is near!”

Who has not experienced the joy of awaiting a loved one? The wife of a seaman coming home for Christmas or the child of a parent working abroad knows for sure that their loved one will come. Thus, even before the actual arrival, there’s a seminal, anticipated joy that comes from making preparations. And when the beloved actually does come, joy flowers fully. Likewise, the Bride of Christ, the Church, a Waits Jesus’ coming with adventicjoy and celebrates what was called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ (literally, Rejoice Sunday), the midway mark of Advent. The first two readings and the psalm speak about joy.

The first reading opens with verses from Isaiah that are. Most familiar: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor proclaim liberty to captives.” We know that Jesus begins his ministry by quoting these very words from Isaiah (Lk 4: 18). Today’s passage continues, “I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation.” Joy is closely connected with salvation.

The responsorial psalm is from the gospel of Luke. It is the Magnificent, Mary’s song of praise for the wonders God has worked through all ages: “My soul rejoices in my God  for, he works marvels  fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.” Here too the joy is that of God’s salvation unfolding in history.

Reechoing the theme of joy, the second reading begins With Paul’s exhortation: “Be happy at all times!” and speaks of the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s important to remind ourselves that Advent not only commemorates the First Coming of Christ (incarnation), but also his Second Coming (Last judgment) when the history of salvation will find final fulfillment.

The gospel reading focuses on John the Baptist who is, so to say, a ‘finger pointer’ to Christ, or, as the gospel says, “a witness to speak for the light.” He announces that the Bridegroom is on his way. Thus, his message brings joy, but it also involves reparation and preparation – individual and communitarian.

Someone said, “A sad Christian is a bad Christian.” indeed, when Paul speaks of the “fruit of the Spirit” he puts ‘joy’ immediately after love (Gal 5:22). But, this joy is not self-centered, rather, finds it fulfillment in serving others. The alphabets of the word J-O-Y refer, first, to Jesus, then, to others, finally, to you! Living for Jesus and others brings genuine joy.

A guru once revealed the route by which he was led to God-realization. “First,” he said, “God took me to the Land of Action and after many years to the Land of Sorrows.” He continued, “Then, I was taken to the Land of Love where l was emptied of everything; next, God took me to the Land of Silence, where l pondered the mysteries of life.” The impatient disciples asked, ‘What was the final stage?” The guru replied, “God finally said that I’d see God’s innermost Self, and, God led me to the Land of Joy.”

Jesus brings joy because he binds broken hearts and breaks captives’ chains. His joy will be ours if we too, in the power of the Spirit, help him free the brokenhearted and captives. But, this demands breaking our own chains first. Are we ready?

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