Third Sunday of Advent
Reading the Advent scripture readings we can sense anticipation and a deep sense of hope. Think of the messianic prophecies Isaiah proclaimed to us over the past three weeks.
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” “Strengthen the hand of the feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong fear not! Here is your God.”
When we think of the messiah and the new world to come, we’re filled with hope. But these words of hope can, and often do, backfire. We listen to these wonderful prophecies, and then look at the world around us. War, violence, starvation, global warming, political corruption, sex abuse, detention centers, refugees, immigrants—and on and on. No wonder there’s so much depression during the holidays. We’re torn between hope and despair.
James, in the portion of his letter that we read today, gives us some good spiritual advice. “Be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains. You too must be patient.” But being patient isn’t enough. So he adds, “Take as an example of hardship and patience the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
Isaiah gives us a vision to work towards. We must be patient and deeply dedicated to the work of the promised kingdom. The messianic time will come through those who work for justice, harmony, forgiveness, and compassion. We recommit ourselves to this work every time we celebrate the Eucharist by proclaiming individually and as a community: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let Us Pray:
Heavenly Father send your Spirit to us to strengthen us as we labor in your vineyard. Give us the courage we need to battle against the darkness. May your light shine through us and bring about the kingdom you have promised. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)