Third Sunday of Advent
Reading I Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalm Isaiah 12:2-6
Reading II Philippians 4:4-7
Alleluia Isaiah 61:1 (Cited in Luke 4:18)
Gospel Luke 3:10-18
“Come let us rejoice. Come, Oh Lord.” When you listen to these readings, John the Baptist was very clear what he was telling the people. He was preparing them so that they would know that someone was going to come and show them the real meaning of love. But for them to understand that love, they were going to have to change their ways.
When you and I say, “Come Lord Jesus” — the question that each one of us has to respond to is: “When Jesus comes into my life, am I going to be filled with fear, or when he comes into my life am I going to be a happy, joyful person?”
I think, if there is honesty, most of us would say, “Well, I really want God in my life but I wonder what he is going to ask of me. Am I going to be up to whatever he is asking?” And when we respond that way we have to remember that God doesn’t ask anything of us that he is not going to fulfill, and he will give us the strength that we need so we will be able to do whatever he is asking. But if you and I just live happy-go-lucky lives doing what we want, then maybe we would say, “Well, God, if you want to come, that’s fine. It really isn’t necessary.” And if that is our response then that’s when we have to say, “I need to put some balance in my life.”
We just had an incident here in town a few days ago that shows us that if you do not live in fear that God will provide. It was the incident of a David Forbes who was killed in his apartment above a tavern on the north side a few days ago. Here was a man who was just a happy-go-lucky person who wouldn’t hurt anyone at all. Everyone who came into the tavern where he cooked just loved the man. And yet in the security of his own apartment someone comes in and brutally kills him.
It is something for us to think about. Why? This gentleman was not hurting anyone. He was really bringing the gift of compassion alive in this whole community. But when that happened and he had to take his last breath I am sure he just said, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
God certainly was with him. He went to serve our country and came back from Vietnam with the Agent Orange disease and it just changed his whole life. Everything that happened to him was not something he did on his own.
So Jesus is asking us, “What’s going on in your life? Are you at peace? Or, is there something that you fear?”
Are you and I ready for Christmas? You notice that Jesus is not talking about, “Are your cards sent, is the cooking done, are the gifts bought?” That’s just a lot of nonsense on his agenda. What he wants to know is, “Are you really ready for Christmas? Do you want the Savior of the World to come into your life?”
There again, most people would say, “Of course. I know the meaning of Christmas.” But are you ready to welcome what he is asking? This gentleman who was killed, certainly every day, according to his own way, I am sure he prayed and reached out to someone and he had no fear of God except that God was guiding him. But then someone, who probably said, “I know what Christmas is all about,” didn’t get quite get the message.
The question is: Do we get the message? And that is why each year we go through this experience of Advent. As we are busy with many things, Jesus asks, “How do you intend to live your life for the next twelve months? Are you going to be open to joy and happiness, or are you to be open to the difficulties of life? But more important, “Do you know that I love you and that I will be with you?”
And so tonight may we say, “Yes, Lord, please come. Every year I ask you to come. I just hope that in the midst of my life, when you do come, you are going to find me looking up at you and simply saying, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
That is the season is Advent.
* * *
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.
(TASCAM DR 40 file 0023)