3rd Sunday of Advent
This week we witnessed the passing of one of the world’s great leaders Nelson Mandela. I remember sitting watching him coming out of prison in 1990 and wondering where we would be going from there as he came off Robin Island and now 23 years later we have said our final farewells to this great man. His greatness came from the fact that he forgave his tormentors in order to make his country a better place; as a result of this so many countries have held the South African experience as a blueprint for reconciliation and forgiveness. I also think that there are many individuals out there who should take the example of his life and the way he lived to see how to forgive others for the wrongs that they had done to them. We pray that the soul of Nelson Mandela will rest in peace and that his legacy will continue to inspire countless others to go along the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.
This Sunday is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn in many churches to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on the Advent wreath.As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us or all that it should mean for us especially in our world where so many have little or nothing at all. The readings for this week, particularly the Gospel, express this theme of rejoicing at the imminent coming of the Lord. John’s disciples ask Jesus if he is the one who is to come. ‘Look around you’, they are told. ‘The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy are those who believe.’ We praise and rejoice in God on this Gaudete Sunday. We thank him for all he has done for us. We rejoice that through the coming of his Son Jesus we have been saved. We do what we can to imitate his life, to follow his Gospel of love and that is all that faith asked of us to do our best in following Jesus. We join together to celebrate the Eucharist, sharing the bread that is his body and the wine that is his blood. We take seriously his plea to the Father: ‘May they be one, Father, even as you and I are one.’ We do all these things, yet mostly we wait. But this is not like waiting for a bus or for the postman to deliver a letter.
We wait with hope in our hearts for the culmination of all things in Christ and the prayer that is on our lips is ‘thy kingdom come!’ As we continue our Advent journeys let us prepare the way for the Lord in our own lives remembering that in the words of the psalm the lord keeps faith forever and he won’t let us down.