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Reflection for 3rd Sunday of Advent


My dear Friends:

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favour from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God

The words of the prophet Isaiah are certainly filled with hope, love and a quest for justice. Today is the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete/Rejoice Sunday! Let me, once again, remind you about the symbolism of the Advent candles which we are asked to make living and vibrant realities within our hearts and world! The first one, Prophet’s Candle (symbol of Hope); the second, the Bethlehem Candle (symbol of Faith); the third, today, the Shepherd Candle (symbol of Joy); and next Sunday’s, the Angel Candle, (symbol of Peace).   Gaudete is not an invitation. It is a command…with its source in God’s unconditional love for us.

The words in today’s Scriptures do not just address the people in Jesus’ time. These same words are addressed to you and me in this present age! Do you remember that beautiful Hebrew word, Hesed (gentle Mercy)? God is telling us that whatever suffering, pain oppression and woundedness we see in our world, we can change it! We can transform it! How?

He anointed us in baptismal priesthood; He anointed us as his prophets to read the signs of the times and respond to their challenges with love, peace, justice, compassion and healing. He called us to be his people who would be recognised, not just by symbols worn around our necks, but the loving and healing words flowing from our mouths, and the presence of God in our actions. He has clothed us in his mantle of justice. Therefore, our challenge is to truly Rejoice, as we strive in the divine quest to breathe life into theses symbolic candles and become that Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace and Light which they symbolise.

Like the bamboo flutes, each one of us is raised and kissed by the lips of God. He is the life-giving breath which passes through us and creates the joyful ministries of our lives.  With our compassion and outreach, we can ease the struggle and pain of the dispossessed and those in need. By allowing God’s hessed/tender mercy to flow into our words and actions, with a phone call, a word of encouragement, and a smile of reassurance, we can break through the walls which imprison so many in COVID isolation and loneliness.

The multitudes who have lost their families, homes, livelihoods, cultures and traditions because of war, the God of Love, Justice and Peace will work through us to address those who have been marginalised, oppressed and exploited. On this, Gaudete Sunday, the Lord is telling us to Rejoice because whatever we do in his name, for the ‘Greater Glory of God’, will succeed.

Remember me as Loving you,

Fr. Antony

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