Sunday, December 13, 2020


3rd Sunday of Advent (B)
(Gaudete Sunday)

Readings: Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11; Luke 1:46-50,53-54; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8,19-28

Picture: cc Wired Canvas

My dear friends, do you know what it feels like when things come together at the right moment to produce a good result? We see this in sports, for example, when a team finally wins a match, after a long losing streak. When asked how they did it, team members may say that somehow everything just came together for them. And things may come together like this for individuals as well. You may remember the story of Archimedes, who was so overjoyed, after making an important scientific discovery in the bathtub, that he ran out naked into the streets shouting, Eureka! Eureka! (I found it!)

Similarly, our Mass readings invite us to rejoice at how God is able to make things come together to produce good results. The first reading likens this awe-inspiring power of God to that of a garden. For as the earth makes fresh things grow, as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations… In case all this sounds too abstract, the gospel shows us, more concretely, what the sprouting of integrity looks like in the life of John the Baptist.

At some point in the history of our world, when everything seemed dark and depressing, especially for the people of Israel, a man named John decides to become a witness to speak for the light. He does this by performing certain surprising actions: He distances himself from ordinary society. He calls everyone to repent. And he baptises people in the waters of the River Jordan.

But it’s important for us to see that these disturbing actions, performed by John externally, are actually inspired by a crucial discovery that he makes interiorly. The nature of this inner discovery is revealed to us in John’s response to the Pharisees’ questions: Who are you? Why are you baptising? I am… a voice that cries in the wilderness… I baptise with water; but… one… is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap… At a certain point in John’s life, things seem to have come together for him, such that he realises his own true identity in the sight of God. And, with that realisation, comes both the insight into what he needs to do, as well as the courage to do it.

My dear friends, isn’t what we see in John an encouraging example of how, even in the darkest of times, God causes both integrity and praise to spring up in the sight of the nations? And isn’t this something that God continues to do even now, amid the depressing darkness of our own time? Motivating merciful activities that bear witness to the Light. Inspiring courageous voices that cry out in the wilderness, calling a sinful world to repent. And isn’t this also what God wishes to do in each and all of us, who make up the Body of Christ? Causing us to discover anew our own true identity before God, and energising us to act accordingly. Giving us good reason to be happy at all times. For even in darkness, the Light of the Lord continues to make good things grow.

Sisters and brothers, on this Gaudete Sunday, what will you do to claim from God your own eureka! moment today?

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