Third Sunday of Advent – GAUDETE SUNDAY – December 15, 2019
Click here for the readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121519.cfm
Homily shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR (a Redemptorist Missionary based in South Korea)
There was once a man who approached me before the mass and asked for advice. He said, “Father, my daughter is engaged to her boyfriend, but it seems that the guy’s family does not approve of their relationship because they have learned that I am now unemployed. They thought that I am lazy and irresponsible. You see, Father, I am a retired seaman. I subsist from my pension and time-deposit I’ve earned. I just wish to spend the rest of my life with my family after long years of absence from them. I really love my daughter and only wish for her happiness. What must I do, Father? Is it a sin not to work, to be unemployed, and enjoy my family?”
Like that man and John’s disciples in the gospel, sometimes we become restless with life in anticipation for the Lord’s reign that we ask the practical question: “I believe that the Lord will come again, but what must I do, then?” Yes, we believe that God so loves us that he gave his only begotten Son for our salvation. He has been good to us and continually showers us his love and blessings. But as faith necessitates actions, “what is the right thing to do then? What does God requires and demands of us then?”
If we reflect deeper on our readings today,
we see that God desires nothing much from us but our happiness.
He simply wished us happiness in our relationship with him. As what He said to restless disciples’ of John, “Go and report what you see and heard here,” Jesus wants us to see for ourselves and enjoy the great things happening and celebrate what God is doing here and now. As God shares us his life and salvation, he does not ask for our heroic acts or sacrifices but our whole being to enjoy, savor, and share his love and work to others. God does not demand of us “holy” extra-works of doing physical penances, or attending or organizing bible studies, miracle crusades, or prayer meetings but simply requires us to be as best Christian as we can be, that is, to love Him and our neighbor, follow His precepts, celebrate liturgies in worship, share responsibilities with our fellowmen, and make them feel and realize that we are God’s people. For God, then, what matters most are not our sacrifices but obedience, not commandments but faith, a loving relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ.
Basically, God simply invites us not to be heroes, martyrs or saints. But like John the Baptist, and the farmer who joyfully anticipates for the fruits, Jesus wants us to be His living and willing witnesses of the revelation and unfolding of God’s work of salvation. Like a best man in a wedding ceremony, Jesus calls us to be a WITNESS, who first, let God’s work of salvation happen before our eyes, not controlling or programming, but simply experiencing the event. Second, a witness who let that event influence and affect our lives, for God’s work is good news to those who admits it. And a witness, who stand for and share what he experience and believe to others, for “Happy is the man who does not lose faith in me”.
Through our faith-responses to God’s revelation and act of His love, by our encounter and acceptance of His son as Emmanuel “God-with-us”, by being affected and changed by the person of Jesus, by sharing our faith to others, in other words by being His living witnesses, God’s blessings begin and continue to prosper within us today and forever. In reply to that man’s questions, I said to him, “it is not a sin to unemployed. You are not what you have or what you have done. But you are who you are before God now. Just Be the best and responsible father and husband you can be. Let God do the rest.”
May we heartily rejoice this coming Christmas to witness divine life given us again and anew. Amen.