Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 11, 2016 - The blind will be able to see.....

The Third Sunday of Advent - Year A

Reading I:  IS 35:1-6A, 10
Response:  Psalm 146
Reading: II  JAS 5:7-10
Gospel:  MATT 11:2-11

This Sunday is sometimes called Gaudete Sunday, meaning “rejoice.” It marks the half-way point between the beginning of Advent to Christmas Day. For those of us who might be impatient waiting for the coming of Jesus, it is meant to be a source of comfort.

The Church is aware that waiting can be a challenging time for us humans, although there is great value in it. Therefore, she chose the words of Isaiah to encourage the faithful. In the first reading, we hear the words: “the desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.”  There will be an end to the waiting time.

This became so real to me when on a retreat in the Holy Land as our guide pointed to a tall brown hill. He then assured us that when the rains would come, the hill would be completely blanketed with beautiful flowers. That helped me to understand the psalmist when he said that “the mountains would shout for joy.” When the waiting time of Advent is over and we can celebrate the birth of our Savior, the earth will be filled with music, lights, giving, love, and joy.

In today’s Gospel, we find John the Baptist in prison and in a confused state. He had seen the coming of the Messiah as a time of retribution against injustice and corruption. Nevertheless, he is hearing that Jesus is going around healing people like the blind man and showing compassion to people. John began to question whether he was mistaken to think of Jesus as the Messiah.

John then sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him if He was the true Messiah. Understanding John’s confusion, Jesus told them to go back and tell John that the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear...and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Thus,
by his actions Jesus is fulfilling the prophesies of Isaiah.

The miracles performed by Jesus were not only to confirm that he was indeed the Messiah, but they were also expression of his compassion and his love. He showed us by his actions that the kingdom of God IS a kingdom of love.

Jesus is the “God who sees” (understands). Hagar was the first to call God by that name
when He assured her of His help in her desperate situation. (Gen.16:13)  He is our Healer (the physician of our souls) and our Redeemer (the One who gave Himself as our ransom).  He just asks that we spread love and compassion to the people in our times. How blessed we are to have such a Savior!!!

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

El ciego podrá ver

Este domingo se llama a veces el domingo de Gaudete, que significa “regocija”. Marca el punto medio entre el comienzo del Adviento y el día de Navidad. Para aquellos de nosotros que podrían estar impacientes esperando la venida de Jesús, está destinado a ser una fuente de consuelo.

La Iglesia es consciente de que la espera puede ser un momento difícil para nosotros los seres humanos, aunque hay un gran valor en ella. Por lo tanto, escogió las palabras de Isaías para alentar a los fieles. En la primera lectura, escuchamos las palabras: “El desierto y la tierra seca se alegrarán; La estepa se regocijará y florecerá”. Habrá un fin al tiempo de espera.

Esto se hizo tan real para mí cuando en un retiro en Tierra Santa como nuestro guía señaló a una alta colina marrón. Entonces nos aseguró que cuando llegaran las lluvias, la colina estaría completamente cubierto con hermosas flores. Eso me ayudó a entender al salmista cuando dijo que “las montañas gritarían de alegría”. Cuando el tiempo de espera del Adviento haya terminado y podamos celebrar el nacimiento de nuestro Salvador, la tierra estará llena de música, luces, Amor y alegría.

En el Evangelio de hoy, encontramos a Juan el Bautista en la cárcel y en un estado confuso. Había visto la venida del Mesías como un tiempo de retribución contra la injusticia y la corrupción. Sin embargo, él está escuchando que Jesús está dando vueltas para curar a la gente como el ciego y mostrar compasión a la gente. Juan comenzó a preguntarse si se equivocaba al pensar en Jesús como el Mesías.

Entonces Juan envió mensajeros a Jesús para preguntarle si era el verdadero Mesías. Comprendiendo la confusión de Juan, Jesús les dijo que volvieran y dijeran a Juan que los ciegos ven otra vez, los cojos caminan, los leprosos son limpiados, los sordos oyen ... y las buenas nuevas son proclamadas a los pobres. Así, por sus acciones Jesús está cumpliendo las profecías de Isaías.

Los milagros realizados por Jesús no fueron sólo para confirmar que él era de hecho el Mesías, sino que también eran la expresión de su compasión y su amor. Él nos mostró por sus acciones que el reino de Dios ES un reino de amor.

Jesús es el “Dios que ve” (entiende). Agar fue la primera en llamar a Dios por ese nombre cuando Él le aseguró su ayuda en su desesperada situación. Es nuestro Sanador (el médico de nuestras almas) y nuestro Redentor (Aquel que se dio a sí mismo como nuestro rescate). Simplemente nos pide que difundamos amor y compasión a la gente en nuestros tiempos. ¡Qué bienaventurados somos de tener tal Salvador!


  1. Oh how I look forward to this Sunday because we get to light the pink candle on the Advent wreath! This event would typically initiate escalated excitement in my boys knowing that Christmas was almost here. It was also the kick-off of my frequent reminders that they had better behave or they may not find presents under the tree… How precious those days were. As an adult, this half-way mark of the Advent season would start me obsessing about not having done my shopping, planning, sending of greeting cards, etc., totally not the thoughts the third Sunday of Advent should bring forth. It is easy to lose sight of the holiness of the season with so many celebratory expectations in the air.

    Waiting, expecting, and preparing are such an integral part of life. As a mom-to-be, each day of those nine months was exciting as I anticipated new birth. I actively looked for changes in my body which signified the growth and development of my unborn child. Every sense of movement and kicking brought such exhilaration as I prepared the bassinette, clothes, room color, bottles and baby names. As my children matured and became young adults I continued to anticipate their next steps – college, marriage, grandchildren – and on and on. Parents initiate the cycle of anticipation with their young toddlers. We plant seeds with the expectation of the shoot pushing through the soil. We watch with them while awaiting the caterpillar’s transition to butterfly. Anticipation can be so sweet that we can taste and feel the desired outcome. Conversely, erroneous expectations can cause confusion.

    John the Baptist was confused. His expectation of the Messiah was one of a judgmental God. His reaction to hearing that Jesus was healing the afflicted and preaching the good news of the Kingdom to the poor was very contrary to the fire and brimstone God he envisioned. John’s questioning if Jesus was truly the Messiah offers each of us a potentially healing reflection.

    My foundation of the faith was based on the teachings of the Baltimore Catechism. I could recite the rules and regulations backwards by the time I graduated 8th grade. I memorized the prayers so well I was called on to recite them for all sorts of functions. I was pretty impressed with my comprehension of Catholicism. When my first son entered Catholic school he brought home a religion book that contained stories about a loving God, Jesus, who loved us beyond measure and who healed the sick, and advocated living by spiritual principles known as the Beatitudes. I initially questioned how he would ever learn the faith with this type of instruction! However, as we studied together I was very attracted to this expression of God. What I realized was that my childhood teaching resulted in a fear-based association with a score-keeping God who resided somewhere “out-there.” Fear drove many of my actions such as attending Mass, volunteering at Church, prayer. I avoided sin merely out of fear of going to hell. Learning about Jesus, his teaching, and his mission opened me to a love-based God and has led me into a trusting relationship with Jesus. Releasing my out-dated vision has led to the most rewarding journey I could ever imagine.

    So, what is our expectation of Jesus? Is he our Messiah? Do we need to rethink some of the expectations we have of God. Experience has proven that the love, peace and joy that is commercialized is very shallow and fleeting. It is only in and through Christ that we will encounter these authentic, eternal gifts. Let us anticipate the beauty of Christmas Day as we actively prepare our hearts to receive Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He is the only gift of the season that promises not to disappoint!

  2. Sr. Therese MW,SBSDecember 9, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    What an encouraging message! Isn't it delightful when the Church urges us to rejoice?

    The following quotations are from an Advent homily delivered by Pope Francis:

    "Today is the third Sunday of Advent. It is called 'Gaudete Sunday' - that is, the Sunday of joy. Frequently in the liturgy (today) we hear an invitation to express joy, to be delighted. Why? Because the Lord is near. Christmas is near. The Christian message is called "gospel"; that is, 'happy tidings' - an announcement of joy."

    "The Church is not a sanctuary for unfortunate people. The Church is a residence of joy and those who are sad discover joy in her.
    However, the joy of the Gospel is not just any joy. It is caused by our discovering ourselves welcomed and liked by God."

    "God constantly shows the greatness of his mercy. He offers us the strength to go ahead. He is constantly with us to help us go forward. He is a God who genuinely wants what is good for us. He loves us and so he is with us, to help us, to reinforce us and go forward. Take heart!"

    "The Virgin Mary helps us rush toward Bethlehem to the Child born for us for the salvation and joy of all men. To her the Angel says 'rejoice, full of grace. The Lord is with you.' (Luke 1:28) She obtains for us the joy of the gospel - at work, in the parish, and everywhere."