Third Sunday of Advent - December 17, 2017 (Thoman)

3rd Sunday of Advent | Holy Spirit (SH/HT)

Is 61:1-2a, 10-11 I Th 5:16-24 | Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’”

I. John the Baptist responds to the question, “Who are you?” by stating who he is not:

  • I am not the Messiah.
  • I am not Elijah.
  • I am not the prophet.
  • I am the pointer – the traffic sign – the GPS system: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert.”

John the Baptist is the last of a long line of Old Testament prophets. He is the prophet immediately preceding Christ. He directly pointed the way to Christ.  Since John the Baptist’s time, that role of pointing the way to Christ has been given over to those who are believers in Jesus. The very lives of believers have been the pathway through which the Messiah has entered the world.  That means you and me – the very lives we live are to be pointing the way to Christ.

II. Every day each of us has many opportunities to do that. And with the coming Christmas celebrations, we will have even more opportunities to be ambassadors 
of Christ.

  • you will see once again adult children who no longer go to Church
  • you will connect with grandchildren who really have no idea of what religion or faith is all about.
  • you will need to spend time with those relatives or in-laws who are indifferent to – or even hostile to – faith and your religious beliefs
  • you will spend time with a friend you haven’t seen for quite some time. While you share friendship, your friend has become distant from faith and really doesn’t share your faith perspective.
  • you will visit with someone who has become gravely ill; this is unsettling to you and you wonder how to respond to 
    • someone – a stranger in a store or another driver – will be impolite and rude
    • someone invites you into a situation which is questionable at best, which is opens you to temptations you’d rather avoid

III. Many of the people we will encounter in coming days will be in need of the light of Christ. They will be in need for you and me to show them Christ. 

  • the very way we go about living our life is a testimony: our faithfulness to participating in Mass, our daily prayer, our prayer with others in public situations – gives witness to how important faith is to us
  • our patience with those who try our patience – with those relatives who will do or say things just to get us going, who intentionally seek to annoy us. Our patience with them might cause them to stop and think.
  • our politeness with a rude stranger or driver on the road may not make them stop and think, but at least you’ve added a little goodness and civility to a world where people are insensitive and self absorbed
  • your witness to joy and the peace you feel because of your faith with your grandchild just might start that grandchild on a path of self discovery about the merits of faith. They might start to think there really is something about this faith stuff.

IV. We need to continue to witness to the power of faith even if it seems it doesn’t make any difference, even if we wonder if the message is getting through.  I think of it as that light filtering through the darkness. Somehow the sunlight finds its way around a pulled curtain, through a crack in a doorway, into a dark basement. Our witness to faith is that little ray of sunlight – as small and as dim as it might seem, it still makes a difference. It still brings a little light to the darkness. How important it is to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of the human heart.

This is the week of the winter solstice – when the growing darkness of the winter months in the northern hemisphere turns around and there begins to be a little more  light filtering upon the earth. May our lives help to dispel the darkness of despair and worry and anxiety so many of us feel in these days. May the Messiah enter the world through the pathway of our lives.
Fr. Dwayne Thoman