Third Sunday of Advent
The gospel of today, Lk. 3: 10-18, is a strong message to get ready. To some people it may not sound as “good news.” But to those who want to become better, John’s message is Good News. It is a call to repentance and conversion with warnings about impending judgment of God. The judgment is not a threat to the righteous. It is a warning to expedite the effort to alienate oneself from evil, and come closer to God, which is the path to happiness and salvation.
John had no power base like financial resources or political influence. He had just one strength-the conviction that god was speaking through him, that his word was the word of God. That was a great strength which enabled him to speak out against hypocrisy and immorality without fear. Among those who listened to him with sympathy were the publicans and the soldiers. They were eager to amend their life, and responded to the call of John. While rejoicing in the Lord, and for all His goodness that we enjoy, let us also listen to the call of John the Baptist and scan our life, and improve where improvement is needed. That would help us to have greater rejoicing and happiness.
During Christmas all churches and almost the whole world are rejoicing. However, the merit of Christmas is retrospective of the Pascal mystery. The birth of Jesus led to the Pascal mystery of his death, burial and resurrection. The early Church for almost three hundred years celebrated no aspect of the life of Christ other than the Pascal mystery. There was no celebration of Christmas until the 4th century, even then Christmas was seen only in relationship to the Pascal mystery.
While Christmas is widely celebrated there is much effort to get rid of the cross. Among many other similar news we hear, I read in the newspaper “The Sun” , December 9th headline news that “freedom From Religion Foundation” petitioned Craighead County Assessor, Hannah Towell for a second time to remove Crosses from public view.”
The Cross is offensive for some. Without the Cross, Christmas has no meaning or purpose. Repentance and conversion may not be pleasant. Without that Christmas may not have real effect. Rejoice in the LORD always.