Third Sunday of Advent “B”
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Waiting is a necessary but usually unwelcome part of everyone’s life. Throughout 2020 we have had to learn to wait in new ways: at the doctor’s office, at the barbershop, at the drugstore, at the grocery. WE have had to stop and wait until it was safe to enter a room or a building. And, for many of us, this got old quickly. But here we are in Advent, which is is about waiting, and today we hear that our waiting is not without joy. Each of the three readings gives us something to reflect on about this: The prophet Isaiah is waiting for the great jubilee year; St. Paul is waiting for the second coming; and in the Gospel, John the Baptist tells us that the One whom we are waiting for is already among us! This is a lot of waiting…and at the same time we are given reasons to be joyful. That is why the Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete” Sunday. “Gaudete” is not a word that people see very often these days. There are at least two reasons for this: One is because it is Latin, and not too many people go around speaking Latin anymore; but another reason might be that the word means “Rejoice!”, and many people today don’t see much to rejoice about. To be sure, there are great difficulties in our world: pandemic, poverty, terrorism, the economy, and even perhaps a crisis of faith. It all sounds rather grim. But today, on this Third Sunday of Advent, the Church calls us all to “rejoice”. This is because the Messiah…whom Isaiah so desperately hoped for, and whom John the Baptist prepared for, and whom St. Paul preached with such energy…this same Messiah is here with us now. He is healing, consoling and changing lives. So, what are we waiting for? As individuals, we await the coming of Jesus into our hearts and souls every day through the sacraments, the scriptures, and the people around us. Jesus is ready to enter our lives, change our hearts, and help us to be joyful even in the darkest of times. And this, my friends, is well worth waiting for!