Third Sunday of Advent 2009

Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent…














3rd Sunday of Advent
14 December 2008

Readings (Year B)

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


In the gospel today we hear about John the Baptist who four times is described as a witness.  We know that eventually his witness to Jesus cost him his life at the hands of Herod.  But John is not called to be any sort of witness.  He had a central role to play in the coming of the Saviour.  His role as the gospel puts it was to be a ‘witness to speak for the light’.  Obviously the light in question was Jesus.
  John proved to be a courageous and effective witness.  He was a strong personality and a man of principle.  He didn’t go in for a life of comfort.  He lived not in a palace but in the desert.  His lifestyle as well as his personal integrity lent credence to his words. He was a living example of what he preached.  And when his task was over he moved aside to make room for Jesus. He could have taken advantage of his popularity at that time but his humility and his conviction about his being called to prepare the way of the Lord was a priority for him.
  The word ‘witness’ applied to John the Baptist here has a very important and special meaning.  It does not mean witness in the legal sense but rather John is a witness because he announces the meaning of Jesus, who is the Light of the world.  Jesus lights up for us the way back to the Father and what God considers to be of great importance. It was as Isaiah says today ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the broken-hearted and proclaim liberty to captives’.
   Jesus still needs witnesses today.  He needs you and me and many others. Fortunately there are many people who witness faithfully and at no little cost. Mother Teresa was one such example.  She was well known and admired because her daily actions and work for the dying of Calcutta backed up her words.
   We can’t be witnesses for the light if we are living in darkness, that is, living sinful lives.  We have to be living in the light.  A good life is a strong and effective witness, and is in itself a proclamation of the gospel; the Good News Jesus came to bring us.
    Maybe the best Christmas gift we could give to Jesus and our world, the best way to prepare for his coming this Christmas would be to care for and respect each one we meet daily. What a change this would bring about in our world.
.  “Lord Jesus, give us your Holy Spirit so as to recognise you in others always and to treat them with respect and love as the best way to prepare for your coming at Christmas and at the end of time.  Amen.”                      

Fr Jim Kirstein SMA
Blackrockroad, Cork

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