YEAR A: HOMILY FOR 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: REJOICE FOR OUR SAVIOUR COMES TO SAVE US
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: ISAIAH 35:1-6a.10, PSALM 146, JAMES 5:7-10, MATTHEW 11:2-11
My dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, “rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Gaudate in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudate” (Phil. 4:4), because the Lord whose coming we await, our salvation is nearer to us than we first believed (Rom. 13:11). Gaudate is a Latin word meaning ‘rejoice’ and Gaudate Sunday, according to the Church’s teaching signifies the imminent arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today unlike the other days of Advent, we are called to hail and worship with joy, the Lord, the bearer of our salvation who is close at hand.
The apostle James captures this mood nicely in 5:7-10 when he tells us that no farmer wails while waiting for his planted crops to yield fruits but patiently and expectantly wait for the harvest. So too are we supposed to set our hearts on the Messiah whose coming is nigh. Living in a world where pessimism seemingly rules as occasioned by the many recurrent hardships; we may tend to conclude that there is no reason to rejoice and be glad. In a world where, workers’ salaries are not paid, where good health care is fast becoming a thing of the rich, and education is eluding the poor; where balanced diets are only fantasized about by a dangerous majority; where crime is celebrated and virtue scorned, where the good suffer whilst the evil and wicked live flamboyant and extravagant lifestyles, etc. we may easily give convincing excuses as to why we shouldn’t rejoice.
Brethren, using the words of James 5:10, I charge us thus: “As an example of patient suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” These were maltreated and killed subsequently, yet none of them relented but waited for the vindication of the Lord. Dear teachers, health workers, civil servants, blue collar workers, commoners, the oppressed and marginalized; those suffering untold hardships and so on, may I remind you of the promise of God to us in Isaiah 35:1ff, ‘our wilderness and dry lands (sufferings) shall be glad, the deserts working against us shall become blossoming grounds; soon we shall experience the majesty of God who comes to strengthen our weak hands and feeble knees. Soon, even now, with our faith in a better tomorrow, and trusting in the merits of the coming Messiah, may I charge us all to stop being afraid, put away our worries, anxieties and be strong; for “Behold, our God will come with vengeance and recompense, he will come to save us” (Isaiah 35:4).
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Indeed, Matthew 11:2-11 is a taste of what the Messianic reign will look like, “the blind having their sight restored, the lame walking, lepers cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead being raised; the poor having the good news preached to them…” (Matt. 11:4ff). We are called to long for the coming of the Messiah this Christmas, we are called to seek to know him and desire his presence in our lives, and we are challenged to draw nearer to him so that we can experience his loving touch. Only Christ, the reason for our being, can make us happy here on earth.
We may wail over unpaid salaries, fume over the wrongs done against us, and complain about the many injustices prevalent in our world, etc. what happens after, anxiety, worry and pain over lost courses. With Christ in the picture however, we find a cooling, a healing, a revival, we are recuperated, rejuvenated and given reasons to be happy and rejoice. May the Messiah’s coming lead us out of our sorrowing into a happy rejoicing. May he turn our despair into hope, our hate into love, our avarice into charity, our sinfulness into righteousness; that so, we may go rejoicing into the house of the Lord (Psa. when his day finally comes. Amen.
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