December 17, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT –  GAUDETE SUNDAY  –  CYCLE “B”  –  12/17/17  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

These are busy days.  There’s a lot going on.  It is such a challenge these days to get everything done and to NOT forget anything.  I think, especially as we come up on Christmas, there are so many things that we don’t want to forget.  And that we really hope that we have time to get to.  I’m sure everybody’s got their own list.  Maybe it’s not forgetting to get something for the mailman, or mail person.  And then of course, the trick is, not only not forgetting to get something, but also not forgetting to give to them, next Saturday.  Or maybe it’s not forgetting to extra Cool Whip for Uncle Harry.  Or maybe it’s buying enough cresent rolls, to not run out.  Or maybe it’s going to the Post Office for more stamps, one more time.   Or cleaning the bathroom.  Or putting up the outside decorations.  Or making fudge.  Or stopping by the Adoration Chapel.   You know what I mean!  There are so many things to do, and only so much time to do them in.  And we don’t want to forget.  We need reminders.  And that’s why they invented Post-it notes!

In some ways, today’s Gospel is a reminder.  Today we hear St. John the Baptist, again call us to repentance.  John testifies to Jesus.  He testifies to the light.  John the Baptist, in all his humility, calls us to humbly repent, turn back to God, and to serve and love Jesus.  Even before Jesus is born, John the Baptist was preparing the way!  John is the Voice in the desert, preparing the way.

And today, on this Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice as we heed John’s call, his teaching, his words.  We too do repent.  We use these last eight days of Advent to really turn back to God.   And to re-commit ourselves to Jesus’ way.  We heed his call and we want to be ready for Christmas.  And even more, we want to ready for His return!  But that’s not the real shocking news of what John the Baptist is saying to us today.  And that’s NOT the reminder.

The reminder is that just like John the Baptist, we too are called to be Jesus’ prophets in the world today.  Today we are to be preparing our world for His return.  Today we are to be prophetic voices in the world.  Are we?  Are you?  You know, we can take care of ourselves, we can go to Confession, we can prepare our hearts, we can change our lives, and we can be ready and waiting for Jesus’ return.   But God, through St. John the Baptist, is asking us of way more than just that.   On this Gaudete Sunday, He asks us to go to work for Him, and to take on the responsibility for bringing others back to God.  God is asking you, all of you, to be a prophet for Him today.

How can we do this?  How can we prophetic?  How can we be more like St. John the Baptist?  We can begin by better appreciating our own Baptisms, our own anointing, and our own call to holiness and mission.  The Holy Spirit is upon us, and the Lord has anointed us to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.  Now, each one of us needs to be the Voice of one crying out in the desert.  Strengthened by the Word of God, nourished by the Sacraments, and surrounded by our Parish family and fortified by a world-wide community of believers who call themselves “Catholic”, we can truly live as followers of Jesus.  And boldly and prophetically call our community and our world to His Good News!

As we come to this Third Week of Advent, it is time for all of us to get busy.  Preparing Jesus’ way is not John the Baptist’s job this time.  It’s ours.  There are many things that we can forget in the next couple of weeks.  The one thing that we most especially can’t forget?  That we are called to be God’s prophetic people!   All of us!  Let us stand together for the sake of the Gospel, and let us never be afraid to raise our voices in defense of the truth.  Let us speak up.  That’s what prophets do the best!

+  May God bless us as we strive to live out our Faith,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…    AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…        Pray for us !!!