Soul Food for Young Adult Communities: Dec.15th 2013. Third Sunday of Advent, Year A.
Now, last Sunday the 8thof December, we usually would have celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, but because it fell on a Sunday, the day of the Eucharist, the Sunday took precedence over the wonderful Feast Day. But this by no means diminished the centrality of Mary,
but rather it illumined her even more. Mary always points to Christ, and never away from Him. So it was apt then that we honour her demand “do as He tells you”. Now, just to remind you,- because it is a simple mistake that many people make- the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s own conception in the womb of her mother Ann. This was all part of God’s plan in bringing His Christ to us. Before Jesus came, someone was always preparing a spot for Him, a place only He could fill.
In today’s Gospel we read of another character who points to Christ, and that is John the Baptist. We heard something about him last week, but today we learn that he is “even more than a prophet”, as Jesus tells us that John “is the man of whom Scripture says: I send my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way before you”. How important is this messenger? Well, very important. Can you recall the Annunciation? It was the moment in time the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said ‘Yo Mary, will you like be like the mother of God’s only Son…like?’, and she in her humility responded “yes”. Then, what did she do? Did she brag to her friends that God had chosen her among all women? No. She went on a long trek over the hills to visit her cousin Elizabeth who, as the angel Gabriel promised was also pregnant. But, who was she pregnant with? I think we need to ask Zechariah. Oh, wait he can’t speak until Elizabeth gives birth. I will tell you anyways, her son is John. Jesus and John are related, they are cousins…like. There are some beautiful pictures which portray the infant John and the child Jesus playing together, watched over by Mary. Isn’t it
spectacular? I wonder what games they would have played as youngsters.
John was in the desert, pointing towards Jesus, and he admitted that he wasn’t even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals, that the one coming was better than he. And this isn’t because Jesus always beat him at monopoly or scrabble, but because Jesus was someone great. Even before they were born, John was letting everyone know that Jesus was something else, was someone else, because as soon as the voice of Mary was heard speaking to Elizabeth, John leaped in the womb and so began his mission. He was eager.
I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could all reflect something of Jesus? How wonderful the world would be if we could all be little Christs roaming around and doing good. But we can, no matter how idealistic it may sound. We all have the ability to point to Jesus, to bring others to Him. As I said last week, my wilderness is Dublin, but even here I have the potential to bring Christ to others. And that is what we must do. Regardless of our surroundings, we must always point to Jesus. As the first reading tells us “let the wilderness and the arid land rejoice, the desert be glad and blossom”. The American poet Sylvia Plath in her poem ‘Black Rook in Rainy Weather” alludes to a something like this, a moment being “tricked” into radiance. That is just it. Every moment has the potential to radiate God, because He is in that moment.
Every morning as I walk to the bus, I always look at the sky. I probably look mad, but anyways. At that hour what I see is mesmerising. I see the stars, the sun, and the moon. I see clouds rolling over the dark blue tapestry becoming light. It is a wonderful sight to behold. It is all pointing towards someone, God. I stand in awe, and I am filled with such wonder. All this before 8am.
Today, Sunday the 15th of December is traditionally known as Gaudate Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, and ‘Gaudete’ means ‘Rejoice’. So regardless of what is going on, rejoice. Jesus is on His way: John in his prison wasn’t quite sure, so he sent messengers to Jesus asking ‘Are you the one who is to come?’ Jesus’s answer to them was to go back and tell the imprisoned (soon to be beheaded!) John,- “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life and good news is reaching the poor”. So come on, let’s all REJOICE!!! Like John the Baptist in the womb, leap with joy, you who hear the voice of Mary and who now hear with joy the words of Christ today. REJOICE…!
To read ‘Soul Food for Hungry Adult Communities’ for this Sunday, click here.