December 13: Third Sunday of Advent. Readings: 1. Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11; Psalm: Magnificat; 2. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; Gospel: John 1:6-8,19-28;
The Advent season of preparation for Christmas is today marked by readings that focus on God’s hand at work in our midst.
The selected verses from Isaiah capture just how significant God’s favour is in these special days of our liturgical year. God’s intervention in history is, therefore, viewed through the prophet’s eyes. As one chosen and sent by God to deliver a message of good news, Isaiah’s inspired words are cause for great rejoicing. They also set down God’s desire to fix the wrongs of the world, for the benefit of all nations. As a piece of prophecy, this is most uplifting, inspiring great hope.
Paul’s cheery words spoken to the Thessalonians in our second reading work in a similar way to the first reading. His commands to rejoice and give thanks are considered the natural outflow from the faith we are called to live every day. Knowing ourselves to be in God’s safe and loving hands, these days of preparation for Christ’s birth are a reminder of the blessedness the Son comes to bestow on us and our world.
In the Gospel passage, John (normally called the Baptist) is remembered by John the Evangelist as a man sent by God to make an extra special announcement about the earthly appearance of the Word made flesh. The light that he says is about to shine in the world is none other than Jesus the Lord. This unique figure that John points out is intended to create in us a profound appreciation for what we celebrate annually on December 25.
The joy of the coming days is suitably anticipated by these passages of Scripture. They set the mood for a truly heartfelt celebration of the Good News revealed in the person of Jesus the Christ.