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Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

The signs of the season are all around us these days—displays in the malls, decorations beginning to show up in homes, music on the radio. We don’t have to look very far to find them. Hello, I’m Father Greg Friedman, and this is the “Sunday Soundbite” for the Third Sunday of Advent.

In the Gospel today, Jesus urges the disciples of John the Baptist to look for signs as well—signs that Jesus is truly the one sent by God. The signs include dramatic transformations in people, physical disabilities healed, Good News proclaimed to the poor.

These signs are similar to those prophesied by Isaiah in the first reading: physical transformation in the bodies and hearts of God’s people and in the desert lands where the Chosen People lived. Such signs would herald the approach of God coming to save the people, to turn their sadness and mourning into joy.

That kind of transformation is supposed to be symbolized in the joy people try to share at Christmas. But we realize that not everyone automatically feels happy or carefree. In this season many of us bear burdens—economic, emotional or physical—which can seem even heavier to bear amidst the trappings of the holidays.

People of faith may need to look beyond the superficial joy urged on us by holiday ads. We can become signs of Christ’s presence, signs of “Christmas” to those who are searching for God. By our sensitive listening, our generosity toward others in need, our presence to those who are burdened, we become part of the transforming power of God’s reign breaking into our world.