Sunday, December 11, 2016

Homily for 3rd Sunday in Advent

Signs, signs every where a sign!

Can’t you read the signs?

The old song was right; we are always looking for a sign. Many of us go through life expecting some great sign from above or a divine revelation. And all too often we get so busy or distracted, we actually miss the sign we have been waiting for all along.

As people of faith, are we in need of a sign? Or will we miss it, right here in front of us.

The signs of this Sunday are clearly joy & hope. We reach Gaudette Sunday and we wear the rose colored vestments. Our readings contain the core theme of joy & hope. Isaiah describes a dry parched land that exults, rejoices and blooms. The weak are made strong and those in captivity set free. He delivers a message of joy & hope.

James suggests patience too as he gives us the farmer who plants, but patiently awaits the rain. Combining his talents with the gifts from God, good fruit is produced. Again, joy & hope!

In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew we again have John the Baptist helping us along the way in our Advent journey! Now in prison, not a place of much joy or hope, John hears of the ministry of Jesus and sends his followers to Him with this question: “are you the one?” Is your ministry a sign? Did John need to ask for his benefit; remember, he leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when Mary approached carrying Jesus, or is this question for those who miss the sign?

And what a wonderful answer Jesus gives; a response of joy & hope. Tell him what you see: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and the dead are raised to new life! Joy and hope!

How can we today make sure we don’t miss the joy & hope while sorting through all those signs? In this Advent Season we must look for reconciliation and healing. What better time to reconcile with someone, to ask for forgiveness or give some? What better time to reconcile with Him who comes to save us by making a good confession before Christmas Day? And are we aware, directly or indirectly, of someone hurting as Christmas draws near. Can we be that source of joy & hope for another? Can we be the sign that another is desperately looking for?

And finally, will others see in us; in our everyday witness, a sign of joy & hope. As Catholics, who gather here as family, at the Eucharistic banquet, do we live full of joy and full of hope?

Signs, signs everywhere a sign. In the joy and hope and Jesus Christ, who comes to save us, no other sign needed!

Rejoice, again I say rejoice!

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