Third Sunday of Advent
December 16, 2018
A friend of mine refers to Advent as a season of “joyful expectation.” Older Catholics remember this Third Sunday as “Gaudete Sunday” from the Latin word for joy. In times past, rose-colored vestments were worn in church today.
Our first and second readings carry the theme of joy, but then the Gospel is all business. John the Baptist is dispensing advice to various groups who come to see him. The Gospel names two of them: tax collectors and soldiers. John advises them to carry out their daily duties with justice.
I suppose that if those two professions in Jesus’ time made a radical change in their way of doing business, it would be a cause for joy! Tax collectors were universally despised, and soldiers represented the might of the Roman occupation.
Luke wants to show us that change was in the air. The coming of Jesus would transform all of human life. That was good news indeed.
What would bring us joy today? An end to terrorists’ threats? Conversion in the corporate world from greed and personal gain? A new spirit of generosity and service in people’s everyday lives?
Paul urges the Philippians to be joyful because “God is near.” That very presence of God ought to be our focus, because that would help us with the other things that need changing.