Sunday 17 May 2015

3rd Sunday of Advent Year C

Christmas is soon to come and many of us may be increasingly joyful, hopefully not because of the gifts we may soon receive, nor because of the delicious food and drink we may soon savour and enjoy, but because the Lord is very near and our salvation is near. This is emphasised by St. Paul in the second reading, where he tells us: "I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near." Waiting for the coming of Lord does not mean we should sit around being idle or lazy, but we need to take action and experience a conversion. The different groups of people in today's Gospel had asked John the Baptist what they must do, and he told them and us too, that we must share with those who are needy; be just and fair in our dealings; refrain from intimidation and extortion to acquire what we want; and be satisfied with what we have. This means that, while we await the coming of Christ, we should not be aloof, selfish or greedy and think only of ourselves or our own needs and wants. Instead, we as Christians are called to put others first before ourselves.

But sometimes, some of us find it difficult to be generous or to share. We are reluctant to share, possibly because we are worried that there may be not enough for us. This is where St. Paul once again reminds us "that there is no need for worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus." This means that God will take care of us and be our providence, and we will always have enough, since God can fulfil our every heart's desire, fill the emptiness in our hearts, and satisfy our deepest longings. Only God can be our source of eternal joy.

Let us therefore allow God to fill our lives with His love, joy and peace. In the first reading, the prophet Zephaniah reminds us that our God is "a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival." When we let God be the center of our lives, nothing can take away the joy of being his son and daughter. Let us also bring this joy to all that we meet, so that all may know true joy and give praise to God.

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