Third Sunday of Advent

12-16-2018From Our PastorFather Prince Raja

On this third Sunday of Advent the church invites us to rejoice and prepare ourselves for the coming of the Savior. The first word of the Antiphon is Gaudete, meaning rejoice and the entire texts of the Mass are filled with the expressions of joy and jubilation. Even the vestment color is changed from the original purple to rose or pink. The entrance antiphon starts with the word: "Rejoice in the Lord always." The First Reading from the prophet Zephaniah tells the faithful to shout for joy, and to rejoice and exult with all their hearts. The Lord will renew them with his love and will be present among them. The responsorial psalm tell us to sing and shout for joy for the Holy One of Israel is in their midst. In the Second Reading, St Paul invites the Christians of Philippi to be happy in the Lord and to remain always in that happiness. The reason for this is that the Lord id near in their proximity. The Gospel brings the people to the awareness of the expectancy of the coming of the Savior and the need for the immediate preparation for the coming of the King who will remain among us. Here we have John the Baptist surrounded by anxious and waiting group of people. They are worried and are unsure about the future. John is there to guide them, to advise them of practical ways and baptize them. Soon Jesus will come to change everything and fill them with Joy. That is what we celebrate today.

Last Sunday's gospel, John the Baptist was telling the people to repent in preparation for the coming of the Lord, the Messiah. The teaching of St. John touched their hearts. That is why in today's gospel, they ask St. John what to do while waiting for the coming of the Lord. The answer of St. John is to challenge people generosity and sense of fairness so that others may have reason to rejoice. Give bread to the hungry and clothes to those who have none.

John the Baptist had just announced his mission to a few Jews who had come to listen to him. He had declared to them that his role consisted in preparing for the coming of the Messiah with a baptism of repentance. Everyone was to prepare for this coming, for this meeting with the Lord: their hearts and souls, along with their bodies and the entire world, were to be made ready to appear before He who IS the Eternal, the Creator of all things in Heaven and on earth. The response of the person depends upon one's will: man either does or does not want God to come and save him from his sins. If he is willing, then the grace of God gives man the power and strength necessary to obtain salvation. But if he is unwilling, then this grace is lost… John the Baptist preaches and proclaims the coming of the Messiah and those who want to carefully prepare for this event and ask what they must do to rectify themselves.

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