Greetings on this the Third Sunday of Advent
Readings: IS 61:1-2A, 10-11; LK 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54; 1 THES 5:16-24; JN 1:6-8, 19-28
Note: This Homily was given at the 4:00 PM Vigil Mass December 12th, 2020. It was not long after dealing with continuous attacks by a prominent right wing Catholic Republican who suffers the disorientation of the loss of a general election (President-elect Joseph Biden). Having four years of an uncontrolled microphone and undisciplined Twitter President there is an inability to shift the focus from nonsense to truth. The focus now should not be on Supreme Court picks or appointing incompetent judges that are willing to sell righteousness for a ticket at the big table.
Now, the focus should not on law but on salvation of souls through their tender care. They don’t want that. Too expensive they say. They would rather exhaust the wealth of an entire nation reelecting a Pagan President than spend money on day care in locations where abortions are of high quantity.
It seems my teaching social justice focused on the merciful handling of people in crisis is out of touch with modern Catholic Florida.
Rather they want to continue the Trump age of the Iron Fist of law and compliance.
I won’t stop preaching. I won’t stop after being called vile names and lost friendships. I get no money, I have no advantage, and there are no alliances. I have Christ. I stick to the Church teaching and with life affirming intent. The Church is filled with dead letter Catholics, check list people. It is enough reason to keep preaching.
I am so happy!
Gaudete Sunday is always a favorite Sunday for me. Yes, we get to wear our Rose vestments only two days a year so that is special. It signals the closeness of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Soon and very soon!
The readings make be so happy.
Isaiah – Messianic Role
How can I not be joyful the words of Isaiah proclaiming the messianic role!
Glad tidings to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, release of prisoners, and vindication by the Lord himself.
As you know too that this is Jesus’ mission. We have the wonderful account in the Gospel of Luke chapter 4.
Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, given the scroll in the synagogue on the Sabbath, he opens the scroll and proclaims…
The very same words!
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel, Glad tidings to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, release of prisoners, and vindication by the Lord himself.
Jesus knows who he is (Son of Man, Son of God) and now be proclaims his mission on Earth. He is worried about us! He wants to help and heal us!!
All of us!!
The promised on is on his way as we re-experience Christmas (and will come again in the Second Coming).
We share this Joy!!
Again my heart leaps for joy!
The entire community sings in dialogical form the Magnificat (My soul magnifies the Lord). All of us together echoing the beautiful response of Mary to her encounter with the Lord. Well, more than that!
The Magnificat is a reflective outpouring of the effects of having been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Think of it (maybe read Gospel of Luke chapter 1), Mary having been given reassurances of her virginity and purity is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceives a son. Son of Mary and Son of God.
This is the song of a soul in love and the effects of being loved in a most special and tender way!
We share this Joy!
A closer look at Isaiah and Luke and we realize that both proclamations are integrated, interleaved. Jesus/Messiah, Mary Theotokos.
We have then the bridegroom adorned with a diadem, and the Church and her Mother like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
We are missing the best man, the friend of the bridegroom.
Already Pretty Cool
So thus far the readings are ones of Joyous outpourings. Jesus announcing his work. Mary announcing her work. All of which is purposed for your wellbeing and tranquility. Now a strange twist with the best man.
A Confession Story
Let me introduce John the Baptist with a confession story.
My daughter about age 12 I think, had a very bad Tuesday. After listening to the story (which I have long forgotten) I tilld her well we need to go to confession on Saturday.
“I’m not going”.
Wednesday tuck-in time. Oh, don’t forget we go to confession on Saturday.
“I’m not going”.
Thursday tuck-in time. Oh, don’t forget we go to confession on Saturday.
“I’m not going”.
Friday tuck-in time. Oh, don’t forget we go to confession tomorrow.
“You can make me go but you can’t make me say anything”
Saturday we queue up as per the norm.
She takes her turn, then I take mine.
Off to Publix to food shop.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how it went?”
“OK. How do you fell?”
I feel GREAT! I’m so HAPPY”
Smiling as I type it
Isn’t it something when we settle things in our minds? When we get a chance to think about who we really are in essence. And when we do things disconnected from the essential truth being children of God we need to get it off our chest.
My baby girl found herself that day: who she is, who she is not. I have no idea what happened in that confessional nor do I need to know. What I do know is that when we are willing to confront life and our own actions (not the actions of others) we find ourselves and tranquility of the balm of divine forgiveness.
A man named John
Our Gospel reading today is John’s confession. We get a peek into his world and the world he had to deal with.
Most of our confessions are private (thanks God) but we get a unique peek into John’s struggles.
Who are you?
Priests, Levites, and Pharisees came to challenge him. Not simply what he does but by what authority he does them. Who does he think he is? Elijah? A prophet? The Christ? Interestingly John actually was of the priestly line and was a prophet and Jesus even (later) notes he John is Elijah returned.
John is not focused on any of that. Make NO mistake this was a complete power play. They wanted to work advantage and alliances.
John in his humility denies any exaltation.
Please remember his father Zechariah was a powerful and important man. His mother, Elizabeth, was no doubt a doting Mom having a singular son so late in life. He was given great grace in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He no doubt was trained well in the matters of the practice of faith and the promise of the Messiah. He could have fallen into the temptation placed before him.
He could have claimed many special rights and treatments if he desired based on his line and that of his father.
He did not.
John found himself. John came to know who he is essentially and his own part in the Messianic plan.
“I’m not these things. I’m this thing”.
I am to call people to repentance. I baptize with water. And if Jesus asks me to I will tie his sandal straps even though I am unworthy.
And he was happy. Very happy. He found himself. Who he is. Who he is not. What his Messianic role is.
Rejoice the Messiah has come. Rejoice his Mother shared her overshadowing with us. Rejoice with John who found himself in full view of the rest of us.
Now… let us find ourselves. First we are to share in the Eucharistic thanksgiving of Jesus. Then having received Jesus and the Holy Spirit discover like Mary what it all means. All of it is directed toward conversion. A turning toward God, discarding evil and doing good.
I’ll not stop until Jesus finishes pouring me out as a libation for the salvation of souls.
Peace be with you,