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III Advent 11/12/2011

11/12/2011 – 3rd Sunday in Advent Season - Year B

1Reading Is 61,1-2.10-11 Psalm Lk 1,46-50.53-54 2Reading 1Thes 5,16-24 Gospel Jn 1,6-8.19-28

This Third Sunday in Advent, in time passed, was called “Gaudete”, because of the first hymn that starts with this invitation to rejoice. In fact, all the Reading are a hymn of joy. It looks as if the joy of God wants to burst over all the earth including everybody. The joy of God is the joy of the one who is to do without hindrance of any kind his most great action, the most beautiful, that by which he can manifest himself fully. And in fact with the coming of Jesus amongst us, God manifests the fulness of his love, he shows us himself as he is in reality and not how men have always immagined him. Therefore “Rejoice”. The joy of God is more beautiful when it is shared by his children. While we are still awaiting, we rejoice, because we are sure that the promises will appear. Never in fact the Word of God been a waste of breath, he never let his words fall on deaf ears.

The text by which Isaiah introduces the First Reading of today is the same revelation that Jesus was about to proclaim at Nazareth in front of his villagers. We know that he has restored the oppressed, gave hope and joy and peace to many, and so we know that he is the one of who Isaiah speaks: on him rests the Spirit of the Lord! He has come, therefore, and we rejoice. There is no good news more than this one. But we know, from our experience, that sin continues to wreak havoc and spreading suffering and make people cry. This is why we continue to wait for a new manifestation of the Saviour's presence among us. He has already saved, but we are still under the influence of the evil one who tempts us, and win us. We are still in need of salvation. Even st. Paul knew it. He insists to exhort us to rejoice, because we are already saved, but also insists on telling us: "Do not quench the Spirit, ... abstain from every form of evil." Our joy may be overshadowed by ourselves, by our actions or our evil thoughts. Certainly keeping always in mind that Jesus is among us, though invisible, and enjoying this, it makes us more careful in avoiding evil and stronger and more generous in doing the works of God, that the works of his love .

John the Baptist knows Jesus and his superiority, as superiority of God over and above every of his creatures, as the superiority of the master over his servant. He therefore, when questioned about their identity, he insists to appear as nothing, as someone insignificant. He is not important, but his proclamation is necessary, is already the source of salvation, because he indicates the presence of him who saves, the one of which all humans need. He knows that he is ahead of the person who is intended to give men the love of God He only prepares the way for the one to sow fruitfully: for he baptizes with water to purify, so the newness and fullness of him " to come "can be welcomed.

To this refers the image he used: "untie the strap of his sandal." It was a sign by which a man acclaims to receive a widow as a wife from the one who had refused the right to make her as his wife. The widow is now God's people, a people who remained unmarried, because God has no one to represent him as he truly is, that is, a loving Father. This is what Jesus was to do: he will be a true Bridegroom who gives the people the love of God, faithful love and complete. John is not worthy to take his place, and neither would be able to do so. For this he says "to him I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal."

The one who fulfills a faithful love of God for us is the bridegroom, who is the reason for true and lasting joy. He is now present, but is still in those situations of our life when we have so far not yet allowed him to enter. We prepare for his coming, we prepare to receive the fullness of joy, and so we begin to sing the song of Mary's faith and hope: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!"