Is 61:1-2, 10-11; I Thess 5:16-24; Jn 1:6-8, 19-28
Kevin was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and could not find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up my Irish whiskey during Advent and Lent. Miraculously a parking place appeared. Kevin looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”
Dear friends! Today we light the rose candle and the priest wears rose vestments to express our joy in the coming of Jesus, our savior. The common theme running through today’s readings is one of joy, encouragement and the need for preparation required from those of us who are awaiting the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and lives. There is a second common theme, namely, witness. The prophet Isaiah, Mary and John the Baptist all bear joyful witness to what God has done and will do for his people.
Today’s readings remind us that the past, present and the future coming of Jesus is the reason for our rejoicing. The first reading tells us that we should rejoice because the promised messiah is coming as our savior and liberator, saving us by liberating us from our bondages. The responsorial psalm of the day is taken from Mary’s “Magnificat,” in which she exclaims: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior.”
St. Paul in the second reading advises us to “rejoice always” by leading a blameless, holy and thankful life guided by the Holy Spirit because Christ is faithful in his promise that he will come again to reward us. Today’s gospel tells us that John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light, i.e., Jesus, and the coming of Jesus the light into the world is cause for rejoicing as he removes darkness from the world.
We should be glad and rejoice also because, like John the Baptist, we too are chosen to bear witness to Christ Jesus, the light of the world. We are to reflect his light in our lives so that we may radiate it and illuminate the dark lives of others around us. The joyful message of today’s liturgy is clear. The salvation we await with rejoicing will liberate both the individual and the community.
By baptism we become members of the family of Christ, the true Light of the world. Jesus said: “You are the light of the world.” Hence our mission as brothers and sisters of Christ and members of his Church is to reflect Christ’s light to others just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. It is especially important during the advent season that we reflect Christ’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
There are so many people who live in darkness and poverty, and who lack real freedom. There are others who are deafened and blinded by the cheap attractions of the world. Also, many feel lonely, unwanted, rejected, and marginalized. All these people are waiting for us to reflect the light of Christ and to turn their lives into experiences of joy, wholeness and integrity. The joy of Jesus, the joy of Christmas, can only be ours to the extent that we work with Jesus to bring joy into the lives of others. Let us remember that Christmas is not complete unless we show generosity to those who have nothing to give us in return.
John the Baptist’s role as a joyful witness prepared the way for Jesus. John also provides an example for us because our vocation as Christians is to bear “witness” to Christ by our transparent Christian lives. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the coming of God into our lives we need to remind ourselves that we have been called to be the means of bringing Jesus into other people’s lives.