Third Sunday of Advent (December 11, 2016)

We have just heard Jesus tell John that he is the One whom God is sending to save his people. The evidence can be seen in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the mute speak.

The Israelites of old came back to Jerusalem singing after their exile; so too will those who are entering the kingdom now find joy and gladness when the kingdom is completed when Jesus comes again.

You and I have entered the kingdom through our baptism. We now share the expected joy of Jesus’ coming again to complete the kingdom.

But that time has not come yet; the kingdom is not complete. We have work to do to prepare for that day. St. James reminds us that there will be hardships in our working for the kingdom. He encourages us to be patient, keep our hearts firm. We heard him offer the example of the farmer who is patient, knowing that he must wait for the early and late rains – working and waiting for the seed to sprout.

We need to stay focused on our mission as we work. James reminds us that waiting could lead us to become unfocused and start complaining and grumbling. He tells us that this is a sure sign that we are not preparing for his coming. We can let petty quarrels and little inconveniences sidetrack us from working together patiently. We can forget that we are to bring Jesus’ compassionate mercy to one another as we strive to work together patiently to further the kingdom.

During these final days of Advent preparing, let us resolve to claim back our awareness of the presence of Jesus among us and continue to work patiently for his kingdom. Let us pray that Jesus may work through us during these days so that the blind may see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the mute speak. This can happen if you and I are open to letting Jesus work in us and through us. Jesus wants us to experience more deeply the joy and gladness he brings to all who work toward his coming again in glory.