Sunday, December 13, 2009
Third Sunday of Advent
Philippians 4:4-7 / John 1:19-28
A young man receives a gift from his mother. It's not much, just a few dollars. It comes, however, with a request, "Do something nice for yourself! I don't want to see this going for groceries or paper towels!" She means well. More than that, she is altogether in the right. She has heard in her son's voice of late a tension, an anxiety, a worry that things are not going as they should and that perhaps what he had hoped and dreamed would be his life may never come to pass. She knows her token will not dispel his difficulties or troubles. Even so, she knows that there is more to the world than his anxieties, and in the middle of his dark season, she sends a rosy message of hope: Rejoice!
Will he be able to receive her message of joy? It all depends. If he knows, or at least trusts that his darkness will come to an end, that is does not have the final say, that in fact he will never escape his anxieties so long as he lives in them utterly, so long as he will not refuse to bend his knee to fear and instead, even when it seems folly to do so, sets aside the troubles of his heart and indulges in joy — then his mother's gracious gift may well be received in good cheer and to good effect. But if he cannot, or will not see that there is any end to his worry, if he has no grounds for hope, then even the most delightful good news from the most loving of persons does not have a chance to be planted, much less thrive and bloom in his heart.
Our holy Mother, the Church, has given us a good message today. She has donned the color of rose and has called us, with the words of her Apostle Paul to rejoice in the Lord always. Can we hear her message? Does it seem real to us? Can we set aside our worries and anxieties? In the end, do we really, truly believe that our Lord's coming is certain and sure, and that he will not delay? Can we, in the midst of the very real gloom that may cloud our lives and darken our hearts, step out for a moment, set aside the very real and pressing cares that strive so mightily to hold our attention, and instead choose to rejoice in the Lord?