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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

Teresa McKerral CND Associate, Salmon Arm, BC

Isaiah 61.1-2a, 10-11 / 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 / John 1.6-8, 19-28 

Blessed are those who are flexible, for they don’t get bent out of shape.

And my, oh my, this is a season where so many times we can get bent out of shape.

As Catholics we have heard many times that this is a season of preparation for the comings of Jesus.

First, the coming of Jesus. In Isaiah we see the phrase: “wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels” it might make us think of something much more splendid than being born in a stable surrounded by shepherds and sheep. This was not how many thought the Savior would announce himself to the world. Yet, as Catholics, following the life of Jesus we are called to be living Christmas; to live a life of simplicity, a life of generosity, a life of service and a life of welcome and hospitality to others (Father Kevin Obrien). We are called to welcome Jesus, and to encounter His love for us. Since Jesus became man, became one of us, we can be assured that we are loved in all our humanity, in all of us there is the Light of Christ.

The second coming of Christ is what we all anticipate. The first apostles thought it was imminent. They thought Christ would be back in their lifetime. We are still waiting. Advent gives us time to reflect on this waiting, to:” Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus”

This Advent, take the time to go beyond our own resources and seek some spiritual nourishment. Contemplative prayer is one way to do this. Advent can be a time when we become flexible, when we think about love, for without love there is no hope and no joy.

John the Baptist may also have been a disappointment to many who were waiting for the first coming of the saviour, the King of Kings. Waiting is such a lost art. I work in a paint store; a gallon of paint takes six to ten minutes to make. It is sometime painful for people to wait that long. The staff all tries to engage the customer in conversation, tell a joke, talk about weather or something that is happening in town. We try to make the minutes enjoyable, but some people can’t wait. They leave, will come back later, or they phone or text someone and don’t engage with us. Waiting is a lost art. So, here comes John the Baptist, who is not the Saviour, but who wants us to repent, and prepare and wait some more.

A very good friend of mine tells me often that she loves Advent. She loves Advent because it is a time when we are called to wait, to go in the darkness, and see the birth of Christ in all that we do and are.

This Sunday is a call to Joy, and joy is a gift to us. I love this explanation of joy:
“Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but are very different. Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.” (Psychologies September 2015)

So joy is a gift of God, a fruit of the Holy Spirit that flows from the conviction that God loves us and dwells within us, and Advent is the realizing of this dwelling.

Peace and joy this Advent Season

 

 

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