Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent - 2020
He makes our joy complete.
Dearly beloved, we are now at the 3rd Sunday of advent, with just about a week left until we celebrate Christmas. I wish to continue by citing the words of St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, “And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed ;(Rom 13:11). We wait with anticipation; with every hope and certainty that we will experience the Christ of God. Allow me to share the following story that Fr. Anokye, at Tazwell shared with me.
Fr. Anokye speaks of his personal experience, many years ago as a child. “Many years ago, as little primary school pupils, we had lots of extra-curricular activities that were very exciting and memorable. On one occasion we had the visit of one “SUPER MAN.” He was a huge macho man with lots of muscle bumps all over his body. Whenever he flexes his muscles he would appear like a huge rugged rock while looking fierce and scary. Our headmaster had arranged for his visit to our school to display his amazing muscular routines. We paid some money for an entrance ticket to watch the Hercules of the moment. We expected him to display most of the things we heard about him, from rumors, which included using his teeth to pull a motor bike with a rider on it.
We were given a time frame to expect his coming and we waited for him to arrive. The time we were given came and passed and he still had not arrived, yet we kept waiting patiently. As the waiting progressed, we saw a van that had the image of the SUPER MAN on it boldly printed with his name in cursive writing. The arrival of the van brought about a great outburst of joy and happiness; it was even surprising to see some of our teachers jumping up and down with unbridled hilarity like little children who just received Christmas toys.
When the van came closer some men alighted. One of them looked very muscular and some mistook him for the man we were expecting, even one of the male teachers gave him a very respectful low bow, but he was not the actual “SUPER MAN.” When they came into the arena, the muscular man among them announced to everyone that “SUPER MAN” his master would arrive very soon and warned that anyone without a ticket will be dealt with personally by the “SUPER MAN” himself in the way and manner that pleases him which may involve slaughtering. He ended by advocating for proper conduct during the show.
The presence of the van and the men who came to set the place for the “SUPER MAN” turned our waiting from being boring to being highlighted with great joy and happiness; we became sure that his coming would happen soon. As we continued to look forward with heightened joy and anticipation, the man later arrived and we had a memorable session with him as he displayed a lot of amazing strength with muscular activities.”
Beloved, in celebrating Gaudate or Rejoicing Sunday, our minds can question why we should rejoice amidst all the challenges of these times. What reasons have we to rejoice? One thing we need to be reminded of, is that joy and happiness are benign human emotions that are normally brought about by something that could either be internal or external, physical or spiritual. Joy however, transcends anything material. While happiness ‘’happenness” is evoked by what happens and what does not; true joy is based on what is innate and core of our being. The Christian joy is rooted in no other than the unchanging nature of the Trinity. At this time of advent, we rejoice in the certainty of the coming of the Savior. Since this source is firm and unshakable, we have cause to rejoice, not just today but always. Because the source of our joy remains.
St. Paul speaks directly on this fact in the second reading:
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
We need to reflect on every line in this short quote by St. Paul. Please take some time to allow these words sink into every fiber of your being to know their true meaning and power.
The first reading from Isaiah is a very popular statement that Jesus used in the gospel. Isaiah gives us the mind and purpose for which Jesus came into our world. For any of us who allow ourselves to be imbibed with the divine presence, these are some of the benefits we read about, even in the face of this pandemic and all manner of uncertainties.
“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.” (Is 61:1-2a)
The words beginning our gospel, reads, “A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.”
St. John in the gospel is reminding us about many years ago when John the Baptist, as messenger of the Lord, appeared with the message of the Messiah. As usual, some took that seriously, whiles others downplayed the news. Did it happen or not? YES, IT DID. In this day and time, there is no John the Baptist, but there is Fr. Anthony and the rest. It is true, the Savior has come already amongst us. However, we make ourselves ready for a spiritual awakening that leads to a life of freedom and true rejoicing, by all manner of preparations.
There is need for us to rejoice and to be glad today, because our redeemer and redemption is close at hand. Your joy and mine comes because we are already, on the right path, and we are also doing what is needed in anticipation of the arrival of the messiah. In our opening story, those who heralded the coming of the “SUPER MAN” among other things asked us to ensure that our tickets are intact and our comportment should also be apt. Many of you are ready, and there is nothing to worry about, but to rejoice; Again, I say rejoice.