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Bulletin: December 13, 2020

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Third Sunday of Advent

The readings this week bear a certain similarity to those of last week—we hear a prophecy from Isaiah that is reiterated by John the Baptist in Mark’s Gospel—but today the focus is different. Last week John told us to repent. Today he is the light leading us to God. Today is also known as “Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday,” as the reading from First Thessalonians commands us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We are to rejoice. Right now. Combined with last Sunday, this seems like a mixed message. “Which is it? Repenting or Rejoicing?” But John is telling us that one leads to the other. As we prepare for the coming of our Savior we must first repent and then rejoice.


A LITTLE GOOD NEWS

Many years ago, Canadian singer Ann Murray had a hit song that spoke of her frustrations as she listened to the radio and read the headlines. She sang that “we sure could use a little good news today.” It strikes me that this is the message that the readings want us to leave with this week. The Gospel Antiphon proclaims, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor” (from Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4: 18). John the Baptist is here to testify to the light, to the Good News.


WILL THE REAL MESSIAH PLEASE STAND UP?

The Jewish people were waiting for their messiah, they were waiting for a hero. They prodded John several times trying to figure out what his role actually was, and to see what he knew. It became a guessing game. He tried to say nothing, but finally answered in a humble fashion, “I am not he.” He baptized with water as a means of leading people to the coming Christ and helping them to prepare. He somehow avoided the trappings of success that would turn his light on himself. Today he remains a road sign for us, pointing out Christ our Light.

We all want someone to rescue us, and most likely to fix the mistakes and errors that we continue to make as individuals and as nations. Much of that is human nature. Would there be as much fascination with superheroes if this were not the case? How many times do you as an adult turn to your folks for advice, or wish you could talk to a deceased parent? Some need help emotionally, others spiritually, others financially. The reality is that it is tough to get your “ducks in a row” and always has been. Today’s encouraging message is for us to always look to the Light for our help. May we always be like John the Baptist and testify how Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, has been our Savior.