Third Sunday of Advent
December 13th, 2009
Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, so called from the opening word of the Introit (Phil 4 : 4 – 5). It sets the tone of joyful expectation for the Birthday of Christ and Second Coming, as does the permitted use of Rose Vestments.
The Gospel text for this Third Sunday (Luke 3 : 10 – 18), also invites us to continue our reflection on the great figure of John the Baptist.
John’s vocation and mission are very difficult and controversial. His life, example and preaching influence people differently. On the one hand, good, well-intentioned people, from various walks-of-life- are genuinely moved by his words and desire to do as he asks them. They long for the Messiah and wish to welcome Him.
On the other hand, many of the Jewish leaders and political and religious personalities of the day resented John and his message of penance and conversion. Envy and hatred blinded them to the truth of the Baptist’s message.
Notwithstanding the strong opposition, John continued, faithful to his vocation to the very end.
To this very day, John the Baptist and his message continue to instruct and inspire us.
John tells us today as he told his own contemporaries: give generously to the poor; treat everyone fairly and honestly; do not resort to violence and do not be greedy.
Saint John the Baptist also teaches us the important lesson of humility: “One mightier than I is coming. He must increase; I must decrease.”
May the example, teaching and intercession of Saint John the Baptist helps us to discover and appreciate the true meaning of the Season of Advent.