Third Sunday of Advent

December 11, 2016
Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 7

A Reading for the Gospel according to Matthew
MT 11:2-11
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,
“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.
Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Third Sunday of Advent
Today’s readings reveal that God’s saving mission is achieved through Jesus Christ, who establishes God’s kingdom on earth. St. Francis de Sales notes:

In today’s Gospel, St. John the Baptist guides his disciples, not to himself, but to Jesus. Jesus had as his mission to be Savior. True Light of justice, He enlightened the land of the Church by the radiance of His life. He came down to our humanity to fill us with His divinity, satiating us with his goodness, raising us up to his dignity, and giving us the divine existence of “children of God.” Constantly He lifts the heavy and sluggish spirit of the poor and humble, giving them His own Spirit so they can do great things.

Our Savior teaches us that it is not enough to be called a Christian. I must live in such a manner that others clearly recognize in me a person who loves God with my whole heart. True servants of God, like John the Baptist, lead others to God by their words and deeds. Let us be attentive to John’s example. He teaches us that our true success in life is to guide others, not to ourselves, but to Christ. Under Him, others, as well as ourselves, must learn and do what is necessary for His love and service that lead to stability.

St. John the Baptist was a rock, immovable in the midst of all the waves and tempests of tribulations. He was as joyous in the winter of trouble as in the springtime of peace. We, on the contrary, are reeds tossed about by every mood and humor. We allow the winds of wealth, honors and material comforts to toss us about. In worldly things we can say, “I have a moderate amount, I have enough.” As for spiritual goods, we can never have enough of them. Like John the Baptist, let us continually incline our hearts to receive the divine love that Our Savior desires to give us. For it is God’s love that allows us to bring to others God’s kingdom, where mercy, justice and peace reign.

(Adapted mainly from L. Fiorelli, ed. Sermons of St. Francis de Sales)