Homily – Fr. Alan Gilmore – 3rd Sunday of Advent 2021

+           3rd Sunday of Advent – “Gaudete Sunday “ (C) +
Dear Brothers and Sisters

If today were a week day we would be celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of all the Americas, nevertheless this memorial ,as it were, of  the Advent of Christianity in the New World – can add to our rejoicing on this 3rd Sunday of Advent – “Gaudete  Sunday” Just one  more word on that  In the beautiful image of Our Lady of Gualalupe – she appears to be pregnant.  Consider the faith and hope of Mary and St Joseph as they approached what might be called their equivalent of the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Consider our own faith and hope today.
Some years ago, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, a senior monk shared with me a
comment from an article – that Christ is not hidden from us. He is already with us…it is we who are hidden, hidden from him by layers of distraction. Not least among these layers of distraction during Advent, during our preparation for Christmas, can be our absorbtion in temporal affairs, with that spirit of commercialism that is so prevalent in our society today. Yes, it can even influence the inhabitants of monasteries.  This is why the Church gives us this 3rd Sunday of Advent! We need to be reminded of our cause and reason  for rejoicing;” Jesus is near! Let us rejoice and be glad! Nevertheless,  we must also make straight the way of the Lord. The ways of humility and truth are necessary to dispose ourselves for this advent of the Lord.
John the Baptist is the prominent figure in today’s Gospel.  In being the ‘near-
peer’ of  Jesus,  John  has given us a model of humility and truth and total commitment to God and to God’s will. This involves real poverty of spirit, purity of heart, manifested through humility, and self-effacement , words that describe a life-style far removed from the values reflected in our contemporary culture.
This Gospel today with its consideration and contemplation of John the Baptist  urges us to reflect  on our own vocation. The readings invite us to reflect on the question “Who are you?” and “What have you to say for yourself?”  The honesty of our spiritual lives hinges on how we relate to what  might be called “psychological inflation”, in other words Pride.  John the Baptist’s humility today reminds us of our own need of selflessness.t.
As we joyfully await the Birthday celebration of Jesus, let’s rejoice (as Paul exhorts us in today’s second reading) .  “Rejoice!  I say it again, rejoice, the   Lord is near!. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds.” We should indeed rejoice, for we  know who we  should turn to for true peace and happiness.
As we approach the Eucharist this morning, as we behold the Lamb of God ,  make a straight way for the Lord, by willing what God wills for us.  Let us rejoice in Jesus, the faithful witness who comes to establish the reign of God in our hearts, that we , as members of his body, informed by his Holy Spirit may be fitting, joyful instruments to bring his Good  News, in the manner proper to our particular vocation, to all our Brothers and Sisters.  “Rejoice! The Lord is Near!’
(Zeph 3:14-18a, Phil 4:4-7, Luke 3:10-18)      – Fr Alan