December 11, 2016:
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1- 6a, 10
Second Reading: James 5: 7-10
Gospel: Matt. 11: 2-11
This Sunday’s readings are filled with joyful anticipation. No wonder it used to be called in Latin “Gaudete” Sunday…”Rejoice”. The priest sometimes wears rose colored vestments instead of the more subdued purple and the third advent wreath candle is pink to enhance the feeling of joy as we draw more closely to the time of the coming of our savior.
But this is a season of waiting and waiting can bring either a sense of annoyance or dread or of excitement.
Waiting on line, for instance, in the post office or grocery store (especially if we are in a hurry) can cause us to be frustrated or irritated and not very friendly to the people around us. Waiting for a call about a terminally ill relative or friend seems like an eternity.
But also think of the times we have waited for a baby to be born, or a faraway friend to come to visit or a seed to blossom into a beautiful flower. How anxiously we await the wonderful event and how eager we are to share this good news with others.
It is in this second way that we wait in hope and joy for the coming of Christmas, the coming of Christ. Hope is coming, love is coming, peace is coming. Actually, what we joyfully wait and hope for is already here….Jesus is with us, God’s kingdom is within each of us. Matthew 11 tells us John prepared the way for Jesus, and sends his disciples to ask ” : Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?” Jesus replies “The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” What wonderful news that is and we, too, are sent to prepare the way of the Lord and proclaim the good news that God is present in our lives. If we open our eyes to those around us, perhaps we can be his eyes, his ears and his hands of compassion, and find Jesus in a neighbor who needs help or a tired cashier who appreciates a kind word, a lonely person in a hospital or nursing home who would love a visit.
Maybe we’ll find him in the eyes of a puppy begging for a treat or in the awesome beauty of a spectacular sunrise! As Melannie Svoboda SND said, ” you might even find Jesus when you look in the mirror”!
If we truly believe this, the joyful anticipation we have for Christ’s birth will be more meaningful because we know that the kingdom of Christ is already here, born in the heart of each of us.
May this Advent bring us peace and joy as we celebrate the presence of Christ already in our lives.
Sister Josita DiVita, F.D.C.