Reflection 17th December 2017 

A Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

John. 1:6-8, 19-28 ( )

Rejoicing Sunday

Last Sunday we heard from Mark: ‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ’. John the Baptist also follows Mark’s view when he says that he is not the messiah. ‘He confessed, he did not deny, he confessed I am not the messiah but I have sent ahead of him’. This was because in the early church there were still followers of John the Baptist.

Today is Gaudete (Rejoicing) Sunday; We look forward to the birth of a child at Christmas. Priests wear rose-coloured vestments, the candle on the Advent wreath is also rose-coloured.

The joy of the gospel is very evident in today’s reading from Paul to the Thessalonians. Joy is emphasized even though believers may be facing tremendous challenges. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. The Lord is near”. Do not worry about anything. 

John the Baptist’s longing for the Christ is what keeps him going. He lives with the expectation that he will “see the glory of the Lord.” Later, hearing of the miraculous benefits given to the blind, the lame, the leprous, the deaf and the poor he will know that the One he has been waiting for has come. 

Our readings should encourage us today: Courage! Do not be afraid. Your Lord is coming’.

The world says to God ‘We no longer need you, we know what is best for ourselves. Happy holiday, happy festive season.’ And then we look at the wilderness of our modern world and hear a voice crying ‘Prepare a way for the Lord.’ John is calling people from despair to hopefulness. 

Even now we are on our way to Bethlehem. Let the Christ child be re-born in our hearts this Christmas.

Tom Hogan C.S.Sp. Fr. Tom Hogan spent over 30 years in Kenya where he worked as a teacher and principal with primary and secondary schools, and in the area of health promotion.