Saturday, December 12, 2009
3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – C
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and
exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed
the judgment against you he has turned away your enemies; the King of
Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to
fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be
not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty
savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his
love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it
again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is
near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the
peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus.
The crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?" He said to
them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person
who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Even tax
collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, "Teacher, what
should we do?" He answered them, "Stop collecting more than what is
prescribed." Soldiers also asked him, "And what is it that we should
do?" He told them, "Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse
anyone, and be satisfied with your wages." Now the people were filled
with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John
might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing
you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to
loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his
threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff
he will burn with unquenchable fire." Exhorting them in many other
ways, he preached good news to the people.
The theme of rejoicing coincides with what the Church celebrates on
the third Sunday of Advent, which is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete
means joy. The Church purposely sets it on the third Sunday as it is
sensitive to people's feelings when in waiting, we might find the
waiting too long, tiring, and agonizing. In this regard, the inclusion
of a joyful Sunday in waiting gives us some consolation and
encouragement in order to persevere in our waiting.
But the feeling of rejoicing is not sufficient in our preparation for
the coming of Jesus. Rather, the Gospel presents the question of
various people as to how they could truly prepare. With the question,
"What should we do?" John then challenges their generosity and sense
of fairness so that others may have reason to rejoice. Give bread to
those who are hungry and clothes to those who have none. When the tax
collectors inquire as to what they are to do, John tells them to
maintain the going rate without over taxing people in order to take
advantage. People are already suffering and thus feel burdened enough.
Be just. To the soldiers who accompany tax collectors to protect them
and give support to their requests, John tells these people not to use
their position as a weapon for their own reward. Be content with one's
pay and stop stealing from the poor and the weak. John exhorts them to
be happy in doing what is fair and just.
In summary, we are enjoined to do works of charity and justice. We are
being asked for some renewal. What are the ways by which we can
respond to these challenges of John?
It is clear that the question raised is collective in that the word
used is "we" and thus pertains to a community. However, before our
community can bring about this change of heart, there must be a
profound transformation of one's way of life, a repentance in oneself.
Let us not be deceived that one may change one's community without
changing oneself. A community is a unity of individuals and different
persons after the heart of Jesus. It is not only a question of "What
ought we to do?" but also "What ought I to do?" in the community?
There is a story from the book of Anthony de Mello, an Indian Jesuit:
A great Indian mystic says this about himself:
"I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was:
`Lord, give me the energy to change the world.'
As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone
without changing a single soul. I changed my prayer to: `Lord, give me
the grace to change all those who come into contact with me. Just my
family and friends, and I shall be satisfied.'"
Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, I have begun to see
how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: Lord, give me the grace
to change myself. If I had prayed for this right from the start, I
would not have wasted my life.
Rejoice and at the same time, be fair and just, which is brought about
by one's personal conversion — this is the right combination as our
waiting during this Advent season becomes meaningful. Let us allow
Jesus to be more real and present in our lives this Christmas.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the strength and healing of:
- Rodolfo Bernal
- Ian Travis Ylaya
- Francis Torres
- Mon Torres
… for the personal intentions of
- Josheil Dapo
- Fred and Nel de Leon
… for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Raul and Epifania Ylaya
- Dominga Marasigan
- Fely de Guzman Tarampi
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for the victims of natural disasters
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: James L. Yu
- Birthday: Ester C. Atienza
- Birthday: Fr. Jesus Diaz, S.J.
- In Memoriam (+): James Yao E Heong
… for the healing and peace of all families
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
Parish Priests' e-mail:
Fr. J. Cesar R. Marin, S. J. firstname.lastname@example.org
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