Third Sunday of Advent
December 17, 2017
Years ago I waited in line at a gathering of Catholic journalists to greet the then-Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Since he had ordained me to the priesthood some years before, I thought that my nametag and association with St. Anthony Messenger magazine would ring a bell. And I wasn’t disappointed; in fact the cardinal asked me to take a message to my editor Father Norman, who was elsewhere in the large crowd. I made my way back through the room and found him. With as much drama as I could muster I declared, “Norm, how often do I get to say this: The cardinal wants to see you!”
Today’s Advent readings offer us the opportunity to step into the shoes—or perhaps sandals—of God’s own messengers. The speaker in the first reading has been anointed with God’s spirit, and sent to bring a message of joy, healing, and freedom to people in great need. John the Baptist is singled out in the Gospel as the one who testified to the light which was coming into a sin-shrouded world. When questioned about his mission, he makes it clear that he’s not the one promised, nor is he one of the ancient prophets returned: Rather John points the way to Jesus, whom the world might not otherwise recognize.
Are you ready to carry a message of hope home from Sunday Mass today? At the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit unites us as the Body of Christ. With the Spirit’s help, we can take a message of joy and hope in Jesus Christ to a world that needs to hear it.