December 15, 2019
Third Sunday of Advent
Dear People of Holy Longing,
Today is “Gaudete” Sunday, which means “rejoicing.” We are more than halfway to Christmas. The pink candle on our Advent wreaths are lit this day. We rejoice since we know where we are going, ultimately to the promise of Jesus-made-flesh in our world. The liturgy expands our sense of time. We celebrate Christ’s coming in the past. We wait for his second coming at the end of time. We also open our hearts to receive his love in our hearts in our day and age.
Our New Testament scripture for today’s Mass, James 5: 7-10, invites us into deep patience. Advent creates within our hearts a profound longing. This text challenges us to be patient. This season seems to bring to the surface all that we long for. We long for good health for a grandmother to live long enough to see her next grandchild. We long for reconciliation among our siblings in order to come to the Christmas table in peace. We long for an inner calm so that we may face our own hypocrisies. We long for peace in our divided world. We wait for the hungry to be fed and families to be housed. We ache in these Advent days to experience rejoicing when we know we are yet complete and whole. Patience is our posture for God to do the work of love within us. Patience is the birthing of love, God incarnate.
We long for our Church, our parish, and our families, to live our faith in peace. Living our faith is more than following a formula. We live our faith in the Church so that we may serve people’s basic needs. We hear this in today’s gospel, Matthew 11:2-11. Jesus reveals these miracles of the blind regaining their sight, the lame walk, and lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised. People’s real needs become ways in which faith is revealed and lived. We are to bring the miracle of Jesus’ real presence to the human longing of people.
I invite you in these remaining days of Advent to take your personal prayer more seriously. We are called to live close to the Sacred Mass. The new liturgical year and the scriptures offer us an opportunity to form our personal prayer. In other words, cultivate in your prayer a real desire for God. Sit quietly and sort through your life and offer to God all of the events, relationships, and things you just can’t control on earth. This is where Advent can take hold of us. We wait for Christ Jesus in the full redemption of our lives. We wait for God to be made flesh within our hearts. Advent offers us an opportunity to rely more fully on God’s tenderness toward our human needs.
Christmas becomes a radical awareness of God’s love imbedded within our human condition. This is where our hearts become ablaze with love, with hope for the desperate situations in which people find themselves. Let’s rejoice for the love that truly sets us free.
“Be patient, brothers and sister, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient.”