Is. 35:1, 6a-10; Ps. 149; Jas. 5:7-10; Mt. 11:2-11
(Audio recorded live, 11 December 2022)
On this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we are reminded to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord. It seems time is really flying by this year. Soon, we will be celebrating Christmas, and as we continue to look forward to that day, Mother Church wants us also to remember the Scriptures that foretold the coming of the Savior.
The prophet Isaiah says, “Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.” There is a perfect connection between this prophecy of Isaiah and what Jesus gives as proof that he is the Messiah. When the disciples of John the Baptist ask him if he is the one who is to come, Jesus says, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” In other words, Jesus is not only carrying out these mighty deeds, his deeds are proof that the Scriptures are being fulfilled.
Our psalm also recounts for us the mighty deeds of the Lord: “The LORD sets captives free. The LORD gives sight to the blind; the LORD raises up those who were bowed down. The LORD loves the just; the LORD protects strangers.” These are all cause for rejoicing today as we anticipate the coming of the Lord on Christmas Day. But, even though it may seem like time is flying by, for some it may seem as though time is standing still. In either case, St. James encourages us all to take as an example of hardship and patience the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. In other words, those who are steadfast in their faith, will experience resistance from others, especially those of little or no faith. We are not to let them wear us down. James says we must be patient, make our hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Jesus manifest God’s grace through his teaching and the many miracles he performed for the people. He is the Messiah, the one who is to come. He is the one the prophets foretold. And while John the Baptist was a mighty voice crying out in the wilderness, Jesus says that even the least in heaven is greater than he. He is talking about us, the baptized, those who keep the faith. We may not be a prophet like John the Baptist, but we are prophetic by the way we live. Jesus says we are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, and neither can we, whenever we practice our faith as Jesus commands.
And so, on this Gaudete Sunday, let us be mindful of the ways in which we are prophets of the Lord. Let us hold fast to our faith and be good examples to others. Most importantly, let us rejoice, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. May the communion we share keep us always united to him.