Saturday 16 December 2017

Third Sunday of Advent 2017 Gaudete Sunday - A Reflection

3rd Sunday of Advent 2017 Gaudete Sunday

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent, the vestments are Rose colored, Advent is a little more than half over. This weekend we Celebrate a little during this season of preparation. Today's readings at mass are:

First Reading Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Responsorial Psalm Luke 1: 47-54, Response Isaiah 61:10b
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel John 1:6-8, 19-28

I have read through these readings many times this week. There is so much within these three readings. In the first reading we have Isaiah's prophecy, a prophecy given to a people waiting for God's restoration. The phrase that sticks out most to me, and causes a catch in my throat each time I read is '…to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' I think about this in context to Matthew Kelly's writings, especially his catch phrase 'Become the best version of yourself.'. That is only possible by having an expectant heart, we must expect God's favor but not in the health and wealth gospel way. And that ties the response part of the Responsorial Psalm, Isaiah 61:10b 'My soul shall exult in my God.'

Then we get to the Gospel reading. I have read this passage many times, but this time was the first that I notice that Jon three different times denies a title or role that the Levites tried to put on him: 'I am not the Messiah.' He is not Elijah returned and he is not the prophet. Three times he defines what he is not. So, they come out an ask him 'Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' He knows who he is and who he is not. And he states it with absolutely no ambiguity! 

The sermon this weekend had a great explanation of this point. And it was something I was already thinking about. For years now I have journaled on 5 questions:

Who are you?
What do you want?
Who do you trust?
Who do you serve?
Where are you going?

These questions come from a science fiction series called Crusade, at was a spinoff of Babylon 5. The questions are asked in the intro of each episode to the captain of Excalibur a ship going looking for a cure to save humanity. And that should be our take away this third week of advent, who are we? Who do we serve? Where are we going? If we can answer those questions honestly, we should be able to exult in God and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.  

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