December 12, 2021 Third Sunday of Advent
“What should we do” That question is at the heart of the gospel story for this weekend
In the gospel we find John the Baptist in the Judean desert admonishing the people to prepare the way of the Lord.
- He tells them God is about to do something spectacular.
- They had better be prepared.
- As a result, people come forward and ask, “what should we do?”
- Some of those present are ordinary people. John’s response to them is “share what you have.”
- Even tax collectors come forward.
- Remember the tax collectors in ancient Israel lived on the margins of society because they were considered traitors.
- John‘s response to them is predictable. “Don’t cheat people.”
- Even Roman soldiers come forward and ask the same question
- He tells them, “treat people fairly and be satisfied with what you have.”
Essentially the answer to his question, “what should we do?” might be a bit surprising.
It is very simple: “Share with others, be fair, and do your work well.”
It seems so simple and ordinary.
God delights in us
Yet, God delights in us.
- In the first reading from the book of the prophet Zephaniah, we have an interesting quote.
- It gives us an insight to how God delights in every single one of us.
- Zephaniah writes, “the Lord your God is in your midst; he will rejoice over you. The Lord God will sing joyfully because of you just like people sing at festivals.”
- It’s hard to imagine that God delights so much that he just loves to sing.
- It’s incredible that God sings.
- Sometimes we forget how much God delights in us.
Yet God takes the ordinary and he makes it extraordinary.
- Think of a diamond. It is beautiful, and precious.
- It is an impressive gift. More often than not an engagement ring contains diamonds.
- As they say, “Diamonds are forever.”
- Did you know that the base element of diamonds is carbon?
- Carbon is the same element that makes coal.
- Carbon is a rather ordinary element.
- However, something wonderful happens deep down inside of the earth.
- That carbon is transformed into a diamond. There is immense pressure and heat that occurs making the carbon atoms bond with four other atoms.
- The result is a diamond.
- In the same way God takes the ordinary and can make it extraordinary.
Make a good Confession
This takes us back to the original question in the gospel, “what should we do?”
- The best preparation for Christmas is a preparation of the human heart.
- That preparation involves a spirit of repentance and an openness to God.
- Without a doubt, the best preparation for Christmas is to make a good confession.
- The mercy of God is boundless.
- If it’s been a while since you received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, make a promise now that you will make an examination of conscience and then go to confession in the next several weeks.
- There will be a citywide Penance Service a week from this Monday here at St. Patrick’s with a number of priests available for confession
- So, look into your heart and see where darkness still has a hold on you: Maybe it’s a lack of patience or maybe it’s selfishness or something else.
- This time of the year we are particularly mindful of darkness and the shortness of days.
- Jesus comes as light for the world.
- Invite him to bring that light into your heart wherever darkness still has a hold on you.
- God’s mercy is there for you.
- If you are experiencing any kind of addiction that has a hold on you, ask Jesus to set you free.
- Remember, God‘s mercy is boundless.
This is called “Gaudate” or “rejoice” Sunday since Advent is now half over.
- Remember what Zephaniah the prophet said in that first reading, “the Lord is in our midst, he rejoices over us”
- God so delights in us that he sings. I suspect that His song is a song of mercy.