Third Sunday of Advent
December 11, 2022
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10
Canticle 15 (Luke 1:46-55)
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.
A Message of Joy and Hope
In the last three Sunday’s our lessons have focused on being patient while waiting.
These lessons can speak to each one of us in different ways.
Isaiah 35, Being joyful, using nature to celebrate the coming of God as Christ the baby, the dry desert will be rejoicing and blooming and water will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert turning the dry desert into pools of water. This passage, reminds me of our desert so close by, like Ash meadows. It is as if Isaiah was there when prophesied this.
It invites us to reflect on this Advent season not only as God’s coming in Christ, but also as our coming home.
Canticle 15 The Magnificat: Canticle of Mary, as a message of hope, the Magnificat focuses on those who receive God’s word and cast themselves on the might of His arm to deliver them.
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
In the past two Sundays of Advent, our attention is turned to John the Baptist in our Gospel readings.
After paving the way for Jesus to come, John was arrested and is in prison, he has been there for quite some time, and he hears rumors about Jesus and his ministry.
I think of it as Gossip!
John is not perfect and he begins to have doubt’s, is this! the Messiah, that he expected? Perhaps another Messiah was coming and he was mistaken.
“When John heard in prison, what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for anther?”(Matthew 11:2-3)
John had been preaching and prophesying and waiting for Jesus the Messiah to come… with a fiery of judgment on the people and maybe just maybe, the possibility, Jesus would come over and get him released from prison. After all, look at what he had done, for Jesus.
He is puzzled, because he expected another King, like David, a King that would deliver Israel. But here he finds out that, Jesus is out in the county side, performing miracles, and preaching mercy and compassion and love.
Jesus answers them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleaned, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.”
Jesus turns to the crowd and speaks about John, explaining that he is the one written in the scriptures. ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
John’s purpose was to prepare the people for the arrival of Jesus who would be coming.
Jesus… was not coming to destroy Rome, later they would do that all by themselves,
Jesus was coming here to establish the Kingdom of God. He first had to travel, to heal, to show compassion, love and to give the poor hope.
He was sent so that we would have eternal salvation. As Christian’s our hope is to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to wait the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God’s purpose for the world. (BCP)
Be patient, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is nearby. (James 5:7-10)
We re-examine our lives, how are we doing? When we see others, do we treat them with love as if they are also members of God’s kingdom? Every time we partake in the Eucharist, the benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life. (BCP)
In this Advent season we are reminded that, we are also called to be messengers for Jesus Christ the one who is coming.
How will we receive him, like John with confusion? I do not think so, we look with anticipation of his coming, we are looking forward in fulfilling God’s mission in this world, in this town and in this state.
This Advent, we pray for forgiveness and we wait with patience’s, for the coming of Christ our Savior, who is the greatest gift that God has given us.
Through God’s Prophets, Isiah, and John the Baptist we have been provided with the knowledge of what God has planned for us with the coming of Jesus Christ.
Our role as Christians today is to, reflect on the presence of God in our world today. Bring the good news to those who need it. Share his love and give people hope in the world today.
May you be happy, joyful and in good spirits this Sunday in Advent.
The Reverend Lola Culbreath