Reflection: Sunday 11 December

Readings: Is 35:1-6; Ps 146:6-10; Matt 11:2-11

The Third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for ‘rejoice’. This theme is begun in the first reading from Isaiah, continuing the theme of overturning from last week: ‘strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!’ In this time when we anticipate God-with-us, we have every reason to rejoice because when we live like God is with us, justice will reign and all inequities will be wiped away. Yet, living in this now, when we perceive that God is not yet with us, we need God to ‘come and save us’ as the responsorial psalm says. Further: ‘the Lord raises up those who were bowed down’. 

Christmas looks different for different people. Clearly Christmas is a time for lots of commercial sales – and there are plenty of ads on every possible media platform to encourage those sales. I’m not decrying gifts given with love – but the Scripture readings give a very different reason for rejoicing. The theme for today’s readings is emphasised in the Gospel. Why should we rejoice? The coming of God-with-us will be marked by justice: ‘the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed’.

Then, as now, injustice is visible. If we live as though God is with us, then our actions can bring the miracle of justice. God with us means living justice and right relationships in our behaviours every day. This brings the salvation of justice in this life – for ourselves and those around us.

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