Homily – 2014 2011 Year B – Advent 3rd Sunday

Homily – (Originally 2011 but valid for 2014) Year B – Advent 3rd Sunday

Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54 Rsp Is 61:10
Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Gaudete (Gow-Day-Tay) my friends, Gaudete. Christ is coming, Rejoice.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the middle of Advent. We take our penitential purple and add a little white for Christ and we get pink. So today we light a pink or rose candle. Today we have the option to wear pink vestments. Today is a day to lighten the penitential mood just a little. Today is a day to stop and think what the coming of Christ means to us, and when we really get that meaning, it's a day to rejoice. That's what Gaudete means, it's Latin for rejoice.

Our reading today are full of joy, exultation and rejoicing.

“My soul rejoices in the Lord”
“I Exult for Joy in the Lord”
“Be Happy at all times.”
“God has called you, he will not fail you”
So today our challenge is to live, to exult, to rejoice, to be truly happy. When you leave today go and do something wonderful. Visit friends, go for a walk, play your favourite music, watch your favourite film, come to the carol service this afternoon, do something you love, and as you do reflect on the joy you feel. Every joy comes from God, so know that the joy you feel is the Spirit flowing through you, and offer that joy to God in love and prayer.

Tomorrow we return to the purple of Advent, a time of preparation. A time to make ourselves ready for the coming of Christ. With all the worldly concerns of Christmas, the shopping, the parties, the trips to family or friends, it's all to easy to forget we are preparing our souls to be ready for Christ. John the Baptist knew he was preparing, and he knew who he was preparing for. It would be wise for us in our preparations to reflect on John's words and actions.

John was different. He lived a humble and meagre life in the desert. He challenged the people of his day, he baptised Jews. No one baptised Jews, Jews were already Gods people, it was only gentiles that needed baptising when they became Jews.

But John's preached that the people needed to repent, to make themselves ready, for the coming of the light. John created such a phenomenon, that the authorities began to question who he was or who the people might think he was.

In the answers to the questions they asked him, he made it clear, he was there only to prepare. To help people prepare. To let them know the lives they were leading fell short of the expectations, of the one who was coming.

Our lives also fall short. We have two weeks to head out into John's wilderness and prepare. Have you been to confession this advent? Have you been to a penitential mass yet? Have you altered your reading this Advent? Have you eaten or drunk a little less? What have you done to prepare?

John, one of the greatest servants of God, gives us an image today of who we are waiting for, who we are preparing to meet. In John's own words, he was not fit to undo the sandal-strap of the one who was coming after him. This seems an odd phrase to us now, but it was a phrase steeped in the culture of the time. A disciple would expect to do anything for his master, to act as his servant in all thing, except undoing his sandals, a task so low that it was only fit for slaves. John's statement today, tell us that he felt, he wasn't even fit to be a slave of the one to come after him. If John wasn't fit to be even a slave of Christ, then what about us.

Well we know the next part of the story, we know that as a result of Christ's gift, Christ's sacrifice for us on the Cross, we are redeemed, we are called to Christ's family as sisters and brothers.

Are you ready to stand here on Christmas day and great your Lord, to welcome the light into the world, to share the divine joy he brings, to offer yourself, to him, to accept the gift he offers you. Are you ready? Have you prepared? You have two weeks my friends.

Joy is coming. Light is dawning. Christmas is almost here. Christ is almost here. Think about that, when the meaning sinks in rejoice, Gaudete (Gow-Day-Tay). Live a little in the pink today, look at everything through rose colour glasses. Tomorrow take a walk with John, find forgiveness for what you have got wrong. Let us all make sure we are ready for Christmas, ready for Chris.

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