Be Strong, Fear Not!

lst Reading: Is 35: 1-6, 10;  2nd Reading: Jas 5:7-10; Gospel Mt 11:2-11.

On the 3rd Sunday in Advent – Gaudeamus Sunday – we celebrate as if like small children who cannot wait for Christmas. We light the pink candle of the Advent wreath, we swap penitent purple vestments for rose. Isaiah tells us to “Rejoice, our God comes to save us.”

Advent means, “A coming toward,” it directs our attention from out there to right here. I am to pay attention to  my heart, my mind, my spirit,  the neighbor in need. Advent means something to be lived and done.  The mystery of the Word of Christ dwelling among us as a newborn child calls for a transformation of our world and begins with you & me.  Meister Eckhart says, “What good is it if Mary gave birth to the son of God centuries ago if I do not also give birth to God’s son in my time and culture?”

Our ability to connect with the presence of God comes not on the level of intelligence or thinking but on the level of faith and wonder and radical amazement in the depth of awe, in our mystery, in our awareness of the ineffable presence of God within our hearts. Isaiah’s words are filled with hope, “the desert will bloom with abundant flowers.”  This change does not occur automatically, like magic. No, we are to enter into the lives of others bringing hope. Isaiah tells us to “strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak.”

And to those who are frightened, we are to say, “Be strong, fear not!  Here is your God.”

REFLECTION:

To whom in your home will you say, “Fear not?”
Who in your circle of friends needs encouraging?
What place in your own heart needs to be strengthened?
Where in your community, parish, neighborhood, family can you help transform the desert and the parched land into bloom?

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