Gospel Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year B – December 14th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ’. ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No’. So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
A voice that cries in the wilderness:
Make a straight way for the Lord’.
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap’. This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
John 1:6-8. 19 -28
We dress to suit the occasion – some occasions. Robes for marriage, graduation, birthday, black for death, swaddling clothes for a baby, a white robe for baptism.
Pink and Joy
Today the Mass colours are pink – the pink today means joyful Sunday, the old ‘Gaudete Sunday’.
We are to be robed in ‘the robe of joy’ (first reading – Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11). We know many types of joy – the gang singing coming back from the pub, the joy of love and the person at joyful prayer. And all the in-betweens. Some joys don’t last, but the joy of God does. It’s a joy of love and being loved – which can be experienced even in poverty.
Our country now needs its saviour. Jesus is no economist. No new budget from heaven. We need saving from despair, from greed, from vengeance, from fear. We will be ok, we will be different, but God, love, neighbourliness are still possible. The Society of St Vincent de Paul collection today is our way of giving something even in bad times for people who need it more than I do.
The joy promised is that of salvation from inequality and poverty. The joy is given to us each day in word and sacrament, bible and Mass, and shared in our care for the poor.
As one lady said once – the Vincent’s never let me down, don’t you let them down. Give what you can this week to our local needs.
That’s part of the spreading of joy: in the words of Pope Francis: “Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties.”
Donal Neary SJ