December 15, 2019
By the Third Sunday of Advent we are running low in patience and lacking in joy. Fittingly, our readings today acknowledge our hope for joy and desire for greater patience.
Isaiah has a vision of God coming with vindication and recompense to the Jewish people in exile when the desert and parched land will bloom with flowers; when the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk and the mute will sing! Together they will “enter Zion singing crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness; sorrow and mourning will flee.”
James in his letter encourages his readers to “be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” Consider “how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains.” James connects patience with coming of the Lord as Isaiah connects joy with the coming of the Lord.
John, the Baptist, gives his life to announce the coming of the Lord. It costs him. He is in prison waiting execution by Herod. He hears of the work of the Christ. He sends his disciples to Jesus with the question, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for another.” We should not assume that John is losing faith. He is sending his own disciples to Jesus so their faith will be strengthened and fulfilled in him. We find a similar happening in the Gospel according to John, the evangelist. He records John the Baptist pointing to Jesus, “Look here is the Lamb of God.” Two of his disciples leave him and follow Jesus. Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” They reply, “Where are you staying?” Jesus says to them, “Come and see.”
During the season of advent, much to our dismay with a lack of patience and joy, we discover that the source of patience and joy is Jesus Christ. Like Isaiah, James and John the Baptist our orientation should be the coming of the Lord. On the Third Sunday of Advent, as we light the pink candle of our wreath, we pray to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts and our lives. When we “stay” him and hear of his words and works long ago, amazingly they come true for us who believe in him. Rejoice!
There was a closing segment on ABC Evening News about a little girl, Eva, hearing sounds for the first time. After medical implants she could hear the voices of her Mom and Dad. She was startled and then she calmed. A smile came on her face. She could hear her parents calling her by her name. Our readings have a common theme of calling. The author of the Book of Wisdom, po... READ MORE
At the beginning of Mass, we pray/say: “Lord have mercy.” It is like the prayer of the tax collector in the parable of Jesus: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The parable of the pharisee and the tax collector is very offensive to those listening to Jesus. Commentary is necessary. At the time of Jesus, Galilee and Judah are occupied by the Roman Army. “Pharise... READ MORE
Jesus tells us up front what will be illustrated in his parable, i.e. “necessity to pray always without becoming weary.” It is by contrast. The judge is corrupt, a non-Jew, appointed by Rome or King Herod, who has no fear of God nor respect for humans. He takes bribes to settle cases. The widow is poor and defenseless. She presses her case demanding a just settlement. ... READ MORE
On the way to Jerusalem, as Jesus enters a village, standing off, 10 lepers cry out: “Jesus, master, have pity on us.” Lepers, with their visible skin afflictions, are forced to live apart isolated socially and spiritually. Jews and Samaritans do not associate except when they find themselves shunned. Of the 10 lepers we know one is a Samaritan. After their healing, he... READ MORE
Early Saturday morning I was listening to Classical Music on the radio. I perked up when I recognized the opening notes to be a movie score by John Williams – Superman! A comic book hero coming to life on the big screen. It is amazing how we are fascinated by “superheroes” from Superman to Wonder Woman – human beings or interstellar visitors to our planet who have ... READ MORE