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3rd Sunday in Advent, Year B – Homily

3rd Sunday in Advent, Year B
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
December 14, 2014

Christmas is getting closer but it still isn’t here yet.  We are still waiting.

As the time drew closer for Jesus’ birth, God sent John the Baptist.  Why?  To offer testimony, testimony that the Messiah is coming to bring light into the world.

John’s Gospel is written as a whole to help us understand who Jesus is.  The whole gospel can be viewed as a trial where testimony is collected to determine who Jesus is.  That testimony begins with John the Baptist.

When John the Baptist was asked who he was, he could have told the people that he was the Messiah and some would have believed him and served him as their king.  John the Baptist wasn’t interested in being king.  He wasn’t looking for status for himself as a prophet.  John just wants to lead other people to Jesus.

Isaiah tries to do the same thing.  Isaiah could have sought honor for himself but he gives the credit to God.  We must also note that he never denies the good that he has done.  He knows he was done good things but he tells others that he does the good because of what God has done for him and what God has given him including his mission.

So really Isaiah gives testimony to who God is just like John the Baptist gives testimony to who Jesus is.  Really all of scripture offers us testimony on how God has loved his people.

So the question for us can be how we offer testimony to God.

Perhaps we teach what we know about God to others.  Knowledge is important.

Do we tell others that we are Catholic and why?  Ask yourself why you come to church and then share it with others.

In thinking about how we offer testimony about God we can turn to Paul’s words to the Thessalonians, Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing, in all circumstances give thanks.”

Rejoice Always – our actions speak louder than words.  If we tell people about how wonderful God is and then walk around miserable what does that really say?  This is not to say we don’t have bad days and struggles, I know I do.  I am not perfect.  Unfortunately I get grumpy.  I need to work on rejoicing, rejoicing that when things are bad I have a God who I can turn to for help and comfort.

Pray without ceasing – Without ceasing?  How?  We have to sleep.  We have to eat.  We have to work.  What could Paul mean when he says “pray without ceasing?”  Prayer is not just saying words.  Praying without ceasing means to make God part of our whole lives.  We might think ourselves too busy to pray.  I know that when I get busy, which is pretty much all the time, sometimes I spend even more time working and prayer gets shortened when what I really need to do is pray all the more.  We need prayer to strengthen us.  I know when I pray “well” I become better at what I do and get more down in less time and offer better testimony to God.

Give thanks – When we do what I have said about rejoicing and praying we can realize the blessings God has given us and have an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

We are all called to give testimony to who God is.  It can begin with something as simple as saying Grace before a meal in a restaurant.  Why not?  Are you embarrassed to have other people see you praying?

It can be sharing with others the knowledge we have about God.  It can be sharing with others why we come to church.  It can be how we rejoice and pray without ceasing.  It can be the attitude we live with.

I have to do better at this.  How about you?

One Comment

  1. Donna says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Father Jeff! The kids and I were just talking about whether or not it glorifies God if you are sullen and sad, or even frustrated and angry over various things. It helps to know that we are not alone in this struggle!

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