HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B.
HOMILY THEME: REJOICE AND WITNESS
BY: Fr Benny Tuazon
Gaudete Sunday, Second Day of Sambang Gabi.
In the day’s Gospel Jesus revealed who John was. John was not the Messiah, Elijah, or Isaiah The Prophet. For them, John showed and told a lot to regard him as the one to come. But John was humble enough not to claim anything except to be the Messiah’s precursor. He was the fulfilment of Isaiah’s “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Even the baptism of John needed to be explained by Jesus to be an act of conversion but not salvation which was reserved for the Messiah. John was sent to be a witness to Jesus, the Light.
Testimonies are vital to life. We gain knowledge of things via experience. But one’s experience is limited. Thus, we depend on testimonies from others who had the benefit of experiencing what we had not. The field of medicine, for example, relies so much on findings as a result of research and previous medical conditions. Doctors depend very much on a patient’s medical history and even personal history in order to assess as accurately as possible the condition of the patient. In court, finding the truth is usually determined by testimonies of eyewitnesses. Having seen, heard, touched, and tasted are almost conclusive to resolving the case.
John met the Lord Jesus even when they were still in the womb of their mothers. Remember John leaping for joy in the womb of Elizabeth, her mother, when Mary, bearing Jesus in her own womb, visited Elizabeth? The circumstances of John’s birth, which we will reflect on later, and the Canticle of John’s father, Zechariah, will further reveal what John will do. “You will go before the Lord to prepare His way.”
The first three readings today, First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and the Second Reading contains and stresses on rejoicing. The Church, in the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, inserted this day in this Season of Advent. It is not equivalent to the joy and revelry of Christmas. The color rose or pink say a lot about that, compared to violet of Advent and the yellow, white, or gold of Christmas. We have repose from the spirit of Advent, but not yet venturing in the spirit of Christmas. We are are excited but a controlled one. We lessen the intensity of our prayers and sacrifices. Tired and spent the last two weeks, we try to gather strength this week for the purpose of giving everything in the last week. We experienced a lot of temptations. Satan does not stop in luring us to give up our Advent preparations. Of course, we do not rest in being good. The repose does not mean we open ourselves to sinning. We never rest in avoiding sin. Gaudete week is the Church’s way of telling us that being a good Christian is not all suffering and combating evil recklessly. We do not want to find ourselves too weak, one day, to resist temptations.
Rejoice and witness. These are the two messages we have today. We witness to our faith with joy. Witnessing for the faith need not and is not always difficult. Even if it is difficult, we can afford to be joyful in doing it.
Today, we need more witnesses, less teachers, less preachers even! While we need a lot of education as far as our faith is concerned, and we need a lot of enlightenment from reliable pastors, the world is wanting in people who will testify to the Way, the Truth, and the Life who is Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Christians should enflesh the teachings of Jesus, profess the truths he proclaimed and witness to, and live the life He lived. Christians had been criticised bot to live what Jesus taught. Christianity is seen as a good religion. Unfortunately, the same praise does not apply to Christians. We need to be the first to show that Jesus was right.
How do we explain to the faithful servants not attending and participating in formations and church activities other than the mass? Servants are wanting in being good witnesses to the faith. No wonder, some would comment that they are better off than some servants in church. Painful but true. Holiness is not achieved by merely fulfilling our duties as servants. More are expected of servants after the mass or in places outside of the church.
Let us rise to the challenge of being witnesses to the faith like John the Baptist. We are the present Johns. Together, let us prepare the way of the Lord!