THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: JOHN 1:6-8, 19-28
This Third Sunday of Advent is called “Rejoice Sunday” because — over and over — we hear: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We rejoice because God is in our midst and God hears our prayers. God also rejoices in us and God renews us in love. Today’s Gospel tells us that John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light, who is Jesus. The coming of Jesus — the light — into the world is a source of rejoicing because Jesus removes darkness from the world.
Let me share with you a meaningful story: A blind man went to visit his friend in the next village. It became nighttime and the blind man wanted to go back to his home. His friend gave the blind man a lighted lamp as he said goodbye to him. The blind man said, “I don’t need this lamp, I will use my stick to find my way. The nights and day are similar to me.” His friend said, “Keep it with you. It is not for you, but for others. If you carry this lighted lamp with you, others can see it. Then they will not collide with you.”
The blind man started his journey carrying the lighted lamp with him. On the way, there was a storm. He waited under a tree and resumed his journey after the storm. Suddenly, a stranger coming in the opposite direction collided with him and both of them fell down on the ground. The blind man shouted, “Could not see you the lighted lamp in my hand? Are you blind?” The stranger replied, “I am not blind but your lamp was not burning.” The blind man said, “I am sorry, I am blind and I did not know that the flame was put out by the storm.”
Let us consciously guard the lamp of God shining in our hearts. It will illuminate us and enlighten everyone around us. Let us remember the meaningful proverb that tells, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” This proverb says that whenever we have some difficulty in our lives we should try to overcome the difficulty rather than to curse the difficulty. In darkness, we cannot see any good things but by cursing the darkness, we will not get light; if we want to get light, we have to get up and light a candle. Jesus himself is the light and brought the light into the darkness. We are the children of light and light brings us hope. As long as we are living in hope with positive thoughts and attitudes, we can change our situations and ourselves.
As members of Christ, our mission is to reflect Christ’s Light to others by sharing our love, mercy, forgiveness, and humble service. In our own lifetimes, St. Mother Teresa is a great example because she brought blessings and joy to the poor, sick, and forgotten on the streets. Once, someone asked the source of her joy; Mother Teresa replied: “Joy is prayer – joy is strength – joy is love – joy is a net of love….”
Whatever we have in our lives, if we do not have real happiness, joy, and peace, our lives are nothing. This happens only through our close connection with Jesus and by witnessing joy and peace with others. If we really want happiness, joy, and peace in our lives, let us listen to the voice of John the Baptist and experience the real light…Jesus… in our hearts. Jesus is the real light, who can give us real happiness, peace, and joy. If we can be filled with Jesus’ light in our lives, we can give real light to others. During this Advent Season, let us make the important choice to permit God to bless us and to fill us with a new sense of hope and purposeful living. Let us live with the assurance that the present darkness is not our final destination, that there is indeed much more light yet to come. Christmas is a message of hope and a message of light. We are waiting for the light…