HOMILY: 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT 2020
It’s good news! The Covid -19 vaccine is already available although it is not yet perfectly safe. The very first person who received the shot was a 90 year old woman from London, England. Our country can hopefully get the vaccination started before the close of the year. The news showed the person with an all out smile while the front liners are jumping, clapping and cheering in celebration. The anticipated happiness will be far and wide not only because the deadly virus can be controlled but it means restoration of usual community routine. Family will have time to gather again without anxiety. Peer groups can freely spend time together in a coffee shop. Residents in the long term care will no longer be isolated and lonesome. I received news that LTC residents are dying for the Holy Eucharist. It means that I can already travel once again for my holiday. I hope and pray that people too will be excited to come back once again to the Church. The overflowing happiness is more than just the invention of the vaccine but the restoration of countless relations.
We are now on the Third Sunday of Advent Season which we call GAUDETE SUNDAY. It is a command... REJOICE ALWAYS IN THE LORD. Joy is totally concentrated to the person of Jesus Christ. The gospel according to Mark tells us about John inviting the people to focus on the Messiah. He said, I am not He! Among you stands one whom you do not know; the one who is coming after me. Apparently, this year is a long haul for everybody. There is isolation, recession, destitution and destruction. These factors had disrupted our relationship with our loved ones, with God and with ourselves. Perhaps some of us are already entertaining the thought of not to celebrate Christmas this year. Everybody knows it’s tough but Christ is still greater than the pandemic. This pest should neither prevent nor stop us from celebrating the feast because Jesus Christ is the reason for this season.
Joy is being thankful to the Lord at all times. The First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians encourages us to pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances. Looking back from the very start of this year, I think bad things that happened are nothing compared to good things that we have received from the Lord. Count the Lord’s benedictions and do not linger on your afflictions. However, we need to pray fervently because it will surely help us to see the hands of God still working even in the darkest moment of our journey. Prayer will definitely help us give thanks with a grateful hearts because He’s given Jesus Christ.
Joy is an anticipation of the restoration of lost paradise. The Prophet Isaiah proclaimed He will bind up the broken hearted, liberty to captives, release to the prisoners and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. If we will accept Jesus this Christmas, God’s promise is overwhelming. It is more than the vaccine guarantees. Jesus says, let the weak say, I am strong, let the poor say I am rich. There is indeed more reason to be happy than to be lonely.