Be joyful that God is always in control

| Deacon Jeremy Bock | December 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

As we prepare to celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we are reminded of our joy in waiting for the coming of Christ. We have cause for rejoicing in the Lord and his never-failing fidelity to his people that he will come again to gather us to himself for all eternity.

Our first reading comes from the prophet Isaiah. This prophecy reveals how God himself will come to save Israel. There are themes of new life and restoration in the image of a desert and parched land being renewed with the bloom of abundant flowers and songs of rejoicing. The imagery that the prophet paints for us is where the glory of God is seen in the sick and the weak being strengthened. Their health is not only restored, but increased. The lame leaping like a stag, not just being able to walk. The mute not merely speaking, but singing.

In hearing Isaiah make this prophecy, we can imagine the great hope of the people as they waited for the day when they would witness God acting in such ways. In all their anticipation of this time of great healing, few expected that God would reach out to his people by becoming flesh in Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel reading, it is again through John the Baptist that we are introduced to Jesus and how he fulfills his messianic mission. Both John the Baptist and Jesus have preached messages of repentance, but what is the difference between these two men? In the darkness of John the Baptist’s imprisonment, he still longs for the Messiah, who we know is Jesus. John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus responds by reciting the actions of healing and strengthening that John the Baptist’s disciples have witnessed, saying, “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” In these miracles, Jesus points to himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy from the first reading. God himself has healed the weak and infirm. The Messiah has come.

If God can heal all of us, why doesn’t he? Why does God make us wait for the final coming of his kingdom where all sickness, sin and death are cast out?

During this week of Advent, we celebrate with joy that we have a God who is always in control. Even though we may not like having to endure our sufferings, we trust that God has a plan for working our sufferings for the good of his kingdom. From the lives and deaths of John the Baptist and Jesus, tremendous good was brought out, and God will bring good out of our suffering.

Deacon Bock is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Diocese of Duluth. His teaching parish is Our Lady of the Lake in Mound, and his home parish is St. Andrew in Brainerd.


Sunday, Dec. 11
Third Sunday of Advent

Readings

  • Is 35:1-6a, 10
  • Jas 5:7-10
  • Mt 11:2-11

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Category: Sunday Scriptures