Third Sunday of Advent Year B by Fr. Atta Mensah

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Third Sunday of Advent Year B by Fr. Atta Mensah

First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
Second Reading: 1Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28


Theme: When God mixes with us


The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, a Latin word which means “rejoice,” is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. This theme is echoed in today’s second reading from the first Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a reminder that Advent is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand and that God mixes with us.

Explanation of the Text

Our first reading of today the Prophet Isaiah makes allusions to the days of the Messiah which the people of Israel were earnestly and patiently looking for at a time when they felt all hope was gone and sadness had suddenly become their companion.

The Prophet assures them that they have to rejoice because God has not abandoned them to their fate. In the prophet’s adminition he employs nay uses a series of infinitives: preaching, healing/liberation, and proclamation. The first infinitive “to bring good news” shares tone and texture of proclamation (the herald language also appears in Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7).

The second infinitive, “to bind up,” often means to saddle a donkey, but here it means to bind up wounds (Job 5:18; Isaiah 1:6; 3:7; 30:26; Ezekiel; 34:4, 16; Hosea 6:1). Psalm 147:3 reads, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” The third infinitive, “to proclaim,” returns us to the homiletical.

In effect the Prophet is telling them that the people of Israel have every reason not to be despair or give up because God hasn’t given up them and He is not far from them; indeed He is among them.

The fulfilment of this prophetic oracle is what John the Baptist testified to nay heralded in our Gospel reading when he was questioned about his identity and assigned role in the kingdom business. He pointed them to Jesus the Messiah who mixes with His people but are blinded by worldly things to recognize Him.

Friends in Christ at Advent we prepare ourselves to meet the Messiah our saviour and in this Sunday are attention is drawn to the fact that this awaited Messiah is already in our midst and so we need to rejoice. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past or what is making you sad at the moment, one needs to open up to welcoming God into his or her life when God mixes with us great things happen.



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