ADVENT THIRD SUNDAY
We are half ways through Advent. Soon we will celebrate God’s loving gift of Jesus to all creation. We are a bit like a traveller in the night who is tired and hungry and on the lookout for the light of a house where a warm welcome, a log fire, a hearty meal and good conversation await. The expectation of what lies ahead is heart-warming and gladdening. The Spirit of God is leading us to another Christmas rendezvous with Jesus, Mary and Joseph as we make our own the opening words of today’s Mass, “Rejoice in the Lord. Again I say rejoice. The Lord is near.”
John the Baptist was in the dark night of prison, and hungered to know if Jesus was the long expected one. Like a light coming into a dark place John heard marvellous things were happening around Jesus: those who were blind to love in their lives, now see it; those who were paralysed with fear and anxiety, now limber with hope; those who were deaf to the good news of salvation are now singing and dancing. The long painful experience of being downtrodden is now being transformed by the good news preached by Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus came not just to improve the material existence and experience of people, but also to transform their inner lives at the core. He found people with hate in their hearts and offered them unconditional love instead. Those who nurtured doubts about God’s promises found themselves filling up with confidence and trust. To those who lived in despair and in the shadow of death he offered hope and new life. Jesus replaced clouds of darkness in people’s lives with a light that no darkness could overpower. To sinners public and private, he offered forgiveness and the power to change their lives.
These are indications of what the incarnation is doing to and in our universe. The broad sweep of the incarnation didn’t stop two millennia ago at Jesus of Nazareth, nor does it stop in the transformation of those who follow him. It goes beyond all that, to all flesh and all life not only on this planet but wherever there is life. Just as the life-breath of the singer brings the singer to life in the song, or the mother is alive in the unborn foetus, so God is in all creation, but is not creation itself. As believers, we need to be aware that all of nature is praising and thanking God with us for the gift of Jesus Christ at Christmas. cf. Dermot A Lane, Nature Praising God, pp. 71-91.
Earth’s crammed with heaven And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit around and pluck blackberries. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Fr. QQ – 12/07/2022