Third Sunday of Advent celebrates the joy Christ's enduring presence
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
The Church calls this Sunday Gaudete Sunday, taken from the first word of the Entrance Song, “Rejoice!” We have every reason to be filled with joy for the Lord’s coming is not only near; He is always among us! We recall Jesus’ promise to his disciples from chapter 28:20 of Matthew’s Gospel: “And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The theme of rejoicing is echoed in the passage from the Prophet Isaiah: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord; in my God is the joy of my soul.” Why? Because “he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and release to prisoners, and to announce a year of favor from the Lord.” We recall that Jesus read these very words in the synagogue at the inauguration of His mission. That mission is ours as well for we have put on Christ Jesus in our baptism. In awe of God’s call to us, we join our Mother Mary in humbly proclaiming: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
In the Gospel reading from John’s prologue, we hear about John the Baptist who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. Imagine his joy as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to recognize in Jesus “the Lamb of God.” John the Baptist, like Mother Mary, gives us a model of humility when he describes who he is. “I am not the Christ; I am not Elijah; I am not the prophet. I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.” In relation to the Christ, the Light of the World, John the Baptist considered himself less than a slave whose responsibility was to untie sandals and wash feet.
The 3rd Sunday of Advent stirs rejoicing in our hearts as the feast of the Incarnation of our God draws nearer. Through prayer and actions we live in joyful hope as we “… bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives, and release to prisoners, and announce a year of favor from the Lord.”
- Where do you see Jesus lighting the darkness?
- What brings you deep joy in the midst of confinement for the common good?
The mention of the word, "Incarnation," stirs up many images. One of these images is from the Late Latin, "to make or form flesh -- as in healing a wound."
".... forming flesh ..... .... as in healing a wound ...."
That is a "new" way of "seeing" 'Incarnation' for me this year. And for that deep and prayerful insight, I am grateful. And I am called to pray with that image, with that meaning of "becoming flesh to heal a wound ....." like when your skin has been gashed or burned, and it forms 'new flesh' in the healing.
This image speaks much to me this year, 2020. That is a part of my 'new' joy. Thank you for asking, Sally Ann.