Daily Reflection
December 12th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
The Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

"Rejoice always!"  It is the third Sunday and the Church asks us to be gladly grateful as the time of our celebrating His coming draws nearer.  

Today's liturgy's first reading is a bold proclamation of the prophet Isaiah which Jesus will read in the Nazareth temple near the beginning of His public ministry.  It speaks confidently of ordination, mission and gratitude.  We hear it today as it applies to the One Who takes it all upon Himself to live out.

The Gospel is again about John's being the "witness" and not the Christ.  There were groups in the early years after Christ's death, who believed that John was the "anointed."  We hear in today's reading explicit statements that Jesus and not John, is the one sent.  Our faith allows us to have a great feeling of joy not merely that Jesus and not John, is the Messiah, but rather that Jesus was actually sent to us and continues being missioned to be our savior.

Advent is really a great advertising season.  New toys, clothes, appliances are displayed in windows, on tv, and the internet.  "Coming soon!"  The liturgy too is an advertisement of four weeks which invite us to see if we really need, or know that we need, the One sent to us.  

Commercials have to show us that we have a need for this deodorant or that snow blower.  People in the southern climates might need more of the former and nothing of the latter.  Advertisers have to make us feel the need and then present us with the salvation of that need.  We might not know we need a new mouse trap until the tv person convinces us that the whole house is full of the little creepy-creatures.

Advent is the time not only for His coming, but our coming to our own sense of need.  "The One Who has called you is faithful...."  We are not forced to see fictitious needs, but are invited to take the time for accepting prayerfully, how we depend on God, but don't like it all the time.  John knew who he was and who he was not.  When we grow comfortable with the illusion of our independence, we confuse ourselves about who we are and who we are not.     

What is the basic advertisement of this-day's liturgy, is that we are glad that the holy Lord God, "has clothed me with the robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice...."  Though we do move in and out of the awareness of who we are and are not, our faithful God continues sending us a Messenger of fidelity and messages in our lives which, like flyers stuck in our mail boxes, are not necessarily wanted, but do tell us the truth of our dependence.

We rejoice today that the Advertiser of our salvation never tires of presenting His saving product, His grace and love.  Today we are asked to buy it and live it "Always." 

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