Gospel Reflection Dec 17 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, December 17
Third Sunday of Advent
John 1: 6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,’”
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice… (and not just because the priest must wear pink/ rose vestments, or as Fr. Lynch sees it, “more of a salmon color”) because “The Joy of the World” is near us now and soon to be celebrated at Christmas…The anticipation for the entrance of the King of the World is at hand, and we celebrate both His Incarnation and the promise of His Second Coming.
Gaudete Sunday is all about taking a pause from the penitential overtones of the season not so much to reflect but rather to simply “Rejoice in the Lord”. Throughout Advent continual reference is made to our Lord’s second coming, and this is emphasized on the third Sunday by the additional signs of gladness permitted on that day. Gaudete Sunday is further marked by a new Invitatory, the Church no longer inviting the faithful to adore merely “The Lord who is to come,” but calling upon them to worship and hail with joy “The Lord who is now nigh and close at hand.”
The Nocturn (a part of Christian prayer “matin” traditionally recited at night) lessons from the Prophecy of Isaiah describe the Lord’s coming and the blessings that will result from it, and the antiphons at Vespers (which we offer in our Church during Advent every Sunday at 5 pm, preceded by Rosary at 4:30 pm) re-echo the prophetic promises. The joy of expectation is emphasized by the constant Alleluias, which occur in both Office and Mass throughout the entire season. In the Mass, the Introit “Gaudete in Domino semper” (rejoice always in the Lord) strikes the same note and gives it why the Church came up with the name Gaudete.
In the Gospel, the words of St. John Baptist warn us that the Lamb of God is even now in our midst, though we appear ignorant of this truth. The spirit of the Office and Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the Christmas feast as well as for the second coming of Christ. The penitential practices suitable to that spirit are suspended on Gaudete Sunday, as were for a while to symbolize that joy and gladness in the Promised Redemption which should never be absent from the heart of the faithful.
May the Joy of Jesus, and both the anticipation of His birth and preparation for His second coming remain in your hearts and be that rejoicing this Advent season. St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!