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Monday, 14 December 2020 10:01

Third Sunday of the Advent

The Word of God for this Third Sunday of the Advent - Sunday in Gaudete - is a lovely hymn to joy.
We will sing in the entrance antiphon, "Rejoice always in the Lord: I tell you again, rejoice, the Lord is near?
Isaiah will exult: I rejoice fully in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.
And in the second reading, Saint Paul exhorts us to be always joyful, to pray unceasingly, giving thanks to God in all things.
These words are a clear sign to us, a strong invitation to awaken from our torpor to fix our gaze on the mystery that is already happening.
The prophet Isaiah announces the coming of a Messiah who will have to "bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted", that is, to restore courage to the disappointed and disheartened: a Messiah whose task will consist in "proclaiming freedom to the slaves and release to the captives".
Let each of us feel profoundly grateful that we have first been clothed with the wedding garment of salvation. We are sinners already forgiven, clothed in divine mercy, by the Blood of Christ that envelops us and gives us dignity and freedom.
Through the incarnation of his Son, God seeks humanity and invites us to a wedding feast, establishing a new and eternal covenant. He is the creator of joy, the creator of the encounter. So let each of us cultivate joy by feeling "as a bridegroom puts on a tiara, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels". (Is 61:10b).
In the Gospel passage we meet John the Baptist, a man sent by God as a witness to the light, a witness to Christ... He denied  of himself and became a transparency of the Mystery.
The dominant theme of this page is a question addressed to the baptizer about his identity.  His answers are of extraordinary wisdom: in order to define himself, John recognizes himself in the Other. Because the secret of himself is beyond himself and what qualifies each person is that part of the mystery that he carries within, that inhabits him.
An invitation is addressed to us to welcome the Other: God and others as they are, as they reveal themselves, even and especially when they upset our schemes and our expectations. It is the call to make each person a subject to be contemplated, worthy of trust, recognizing him or her in his or her truth, in his or her beauty as a child of God....
Pope Francis, in Encyclical Fratelli tutti expresses it this way: "The culture of encounter implies the habitual capacity to recognize the other's right to be himself and to be different." (n. 218)
So, this week we want to ask ourselves: What do I do to recognize Christ knocking at the door of my heart in the faces of those close to me?
We want to commit ourselves to recognize the other, to recognize the right of others to be different, to be themselves so that we may experience the joy of a new beginning, the desire to communicate Jesus to our neighbors, to recognize Him in others.
Let us allow ourselves to be transformed inwardly in order to experience the joy of Christmas: "May the God of peace sanctify us wholly, and may our whole person, spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1Th 5:23-24).

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