December 12, 2021 – Third Sunday of Advent, GAUDETE SUNDAY
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121221.cfm)
Three parents were asked about their dreams and aspirations for their respective children. The first one said: “I wish that my kids will be successful in life”. The second one said, “I want my kids to be happy in life”. The third one said: “All I wish is that my kids will grow in life righteous and worthy before God and others.
Success, happiness, and righteousness are three great and nice aspirations in life. We all wish to have all these dreams in life, but we do also know that we cannot have always all these in life. That is why it is important for us to recognize our own dreams and aspirations in life, as well as what is proper for us, as Christians?
To aspire for success in life today is never easy, because there are many options and standards. As a consequence, we are not easily contented with life. In order to succeed, we have to aspire for more and better than others. Thus, making others easily discouraged in life because they are not the dean’s lister, cum laude, boss, or millionaire, and hopeless because they are “not-yet but only a” from what they aspire to be. Others may have been already successful in life but done through corruption, lie and deception, and still not happy and still discontented in life.
Nowadays, to aspire for happiness is also difficult because there are endless and unsatisfying possibilities. Like, a simple telephone or watch is not enough, it has to be a smartphone or smartwatch. Some would even be willing to lie and exploit others, just to keep up with Jonesses, with the latest and fashionable trends. That is why Gadgets are getting smarter while the people getting stupid. Others even may be enjoying a happy life now but at the expense of others by being a burden and dependent on others.
Yes, there are demands and shortcomings in life, but to aspire to be right and worthy before God and other has always been close and gentle in our hearts. To behave rightly before God and others is not only expected of us but also usually satisfy our hearts-desire.
When asked how to be and what to do before God’s offer of salvation, John in our gospel today teaches the people then and us now to aspire and to be worthy and righteous as we are before God and others. What is required of us then in God’s salvation is our worthiness before God and others, and not our successes and happiness in life. He said, “If you are rich, share what you have. If you’re a tax-collector, don’t take advantage of others. If you’re a soldier, be fair and just with others”. In other words, Be worthy and righteous as you really are now before God and others.
John knows himself. He is not the Messiah himself. He is only the voice and just the precursor to prepare the way of the Lord. But he also aspires to be a worthy friend of the bridegroom. He is not the Groom but the Best Man for the Groom. This is also what John wish for us – that We become the Best (worthy and righteous) Person for the Groom before God and others.
We may aspire to have a successful and happy Christmas this year and life next year, but may also not be righteous and worthy before the Lord. Or we may have an unsuccessful and unhappy Christmas and life ahead but still worthy and righteous before Him, as we behave rightly as we are called to be Christians to others.
Rejoicing at the Lord’s coming and being into our life now, is not about we being happy and successful in life, but because we behave and act rightly and worthily before God and others in life. To be worthy and righteous before God and others then is what we should and are we to do in life, even in these trying pandemic times, for us to once again and always openly received God’s continuing blessing of grace to us in life through His son, Jesus Christ. Amen.