Here is Your God
Today is the Sunday known as Gaudete Sunday – Rejoice Sunday! The Third Sunday of Advent. The readings all point towards the coming of God’s kingdom.
Isaiah (35:1-6a,10) speaks of the God coming with vindication and recompense to save the people. When that happens, “the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be cleared.” The lame will walk freely and those who are unable to speak will sing. Those ransomed by the Lord will return singing to their land. These words were spoken to a people invited to return to exile from captivity in a foreign land. Many needed a lot of convincing. They are in invitation to us as well. Will we need as much convincing?
Here is Your God.
Where? A question asked through the ages.
St. James (5:7-10) encourages the people of his time, “Be patient … until the coming of the Lord.” Farmers must wait for their crops to grow and mature. We too must wait for the kingdom to grow and mature. Don’t complain. The Judge will be here soon. Remember the prophets. The words they spoke reflected a reality that was to come, not a reality they were already experiencing. We too must be patient.
John the Baptist’s disciples asked Jesus point blank, “Are you the one who is to come?” (Mt 11:2-11) John had preached repentance and the coming of one who would judge wrongdoers. Was Jesus this one?
Jesus responded by referring to the words of Isaiah: “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, … and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” This is the sign. These are the things that will happen when the Lord comes to rescue all of us.
Jesus did not repudiate John. He praised his cousin for his faithfulness to his calling – to be the one calling from the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord.
Jesus concluded his answer to John’s disciples with the words, “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
How do we recognize the coming of the Lord? Will it be through the advent of great signs and wonders in the sky, or floods and earthquakes, or other frightening things? No. It will be as we see God’s little ones receiving care and attention. Healing, education, shelter, adequate nutrition, and the chance to live with the dignity of the children of God.
Blessed are we when we do not take offense at the efforts of our sisters and brothers who work to bring social justice and peace to our world.
Rejoice! The Kingdom of God is near! The Lord is coming into our midst!
Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent – Cycle A