Monday, March 11, 2019 at 6:38 PM
Stations of the Cross every Friday in Lent. We are alternating times. This Friday, March 15 at 7:00pm, next Friday, March 22 at 3:00pm. If you are of age, please remember to Fast and Abstain

12/11/16 Third Sunday of Advent - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary for Gaudete Sunday ~ Deacon Landry 

The season of Advent, like the season of Lent, is a time of spiritual insight and preparation. The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, "to come to," referring to the coming of Christ. During this season we celebrate first of all Christ's birth; but we acknowledge also the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, we consider in a special way the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time.

Focusing on our sinfulness and need for repentance, and contemplating the endtimes—whether our own personally or that of the entire world—can be sobering, to say the least. The vestments worn during Lent and Advent are the symbolic purple color of repentance, and the "Gloria" is omitted from Mass.

The Church makes an exception on Laetare Sunday during Lent, and Gaudete Sunday during Advent. The name "gaudete" is taken  from the first word of the Introit at Mass, Gaudete, meaning Rejoice. The wearing of the color rose is symbolic of the hope that is our Savior Jesus Christ. For this reason, we also light the rose candle of the Advent wreath. We are now closer than halfway through Advent and ever closer to Christmas. Rejoice!

Our first reading reminds of the hope of the coming Christ. Our second reading makes reference to the fact that farmers had to have faith and patience as they waited for the rains that meant life or death for their crops. The prophet Isaiah, as do all prophets, had to endure hardship with patience, particularly because their prophetic mission caused opposition. This has every bit as much meaning for us today, as it would have for the prophets of ancient times. Anyone of us who has ever had to defend the values we hold as Catholics knows this all too well

In order to properly understand and appreciate today's gospel, we must take a moment to consider the mindset of the ancient Jews of some two thousand years ago who so eagerly awaited the Messiah. John the Baptist asks, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" At the time, there were various prevailing concepts of just what the Messiah would be. John's question can be interpreted not so much one of doubt, but of confirmation.

Jesus responds by referencing the ills of a suffering people and clearly declares that the healing process has already begun with his ministry, which continues with us today. So the good news of the coming of the Messiah is every bit as significant and just as exciting as it would have been so many centuries ago.

Our world, personally and globally, is beset by overwhelmingly oppressive challenges. We may attempt to medicate these ills with the riches of the world, only to come up woefully empty. However, Rejoice! Because today we are reminded to look forward to the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Not to be overlooked is another important purpose of Matthew's gospel today. Remember that many of John the Baptist's disciples misunderstood him to be the Messiah, and the evangelist seeks to clarify that indeed Jesus is who they have been waiting for. But make no mistake—this in no way diminishes who John the Baptist was and how significant his role. The savior of the world proclaims: ...among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist."

It is no accident that Jesus follows this remarkable tribute with the following words: "... yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." This powerful statement is a testament to the kingdom of heaven manifested here on earth in the Church. Jesus Christ is declaring that you and I—as members of the living Church, the continuing ministry of our Savior—are more blessed than even John since we not only herald the age that our Lord inaugurated, but live as a part of it.

Rejoice! The kingdom of Heaven is at hand! We are indeed privileged to be part of the Church established by the Son of God himself, but we have been commissioned by the Savior of the World with a great responsibility: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

This is a daunting task. In the spirit of Advent, in preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ, we must ask ourselves honestly what we are doing to further the ministry of Jesus Christ. This calls for some serious soul-searching. However, as we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist—our year-long Thanksgiving—we thank Almighty God for the gift of his Son and take comfort and joy in his awesome proclamation:

"And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   


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