3rd Sunday of Advent – December 11, 2022
Today is ”Gaudete’ Sunday. It means “Rejoice”. It is the Sunday of the pink candle and the always flattering pink- or rose vestments. The pink is supposed to make us think happy thoughts- it is the color of the sky just before dawn- the light chasing away the ends of the night. There is still darkness but there are signs of light that are worth celebrating, things to find joy in.
The first reading from Isaiah is full of visions of sweetness and light there are promises of healing and restoration on a cosmic level. The Gospel begins with a particularly dark scene. John the Baptist is in prison. King Herod has arrested him for pointing out that the king has taken his brother’s wife. Herod and even more so his wife Herodias take it personally. John has gone from the dynamic preacher gathering people by the hundreds and thousands to hear him speak in the desert and submit to his baptism in the Jordan. Now he is locked away waiting for the King’s sentence.
He wonders if Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. Is Jesus the awaited Messiah. Jesus responds by pointing out the concrete things He is doing: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the poor hear the good news. Each of those are signs of God’s transformative grace, a sign that God is bringing a new light to the darkness. I wonder if John might ask, “How about setting the prisoners free, that would be a great sign of grace.”
The light of God’s grace, the signs of the Kingdom are not always about us. We might not receive the healing, our lives might not be made right with our troubles chased away. We still might face our own darkness. The Kingdom of God is not about us. It is about God. If he works in others lives a light of joy and hope can fall on us. Sometimes we get the opportunity to be that sign of the kingdom when we give the poor and the sick a bit of hope and kindness.
We rejoice because there are signs of God’s grace, the beginning of the Kingdom scattered throughout our world. There maybe be darkness but the light does not run from it. We get to witness the good in our world and with even greater joy occasionally add to it ourselves
Fr. Martin Curtin