Sunday, December 17, 2006
The Third Sunday of Advent--Gaudete Sunday
Today is the Third Sunday of Advent--Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means "joy". This is the Sunday where the readings begin to talk of the joy of the savior's imminent coming rather than the end of time.
Today in Luke's Gospel, John the Baptist says, the savior "is coming. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Hearing preaching like this, it's no wonder that some of his first century audience thought surely the Messiah would come get them out of the current mess they were in. Surely, he would come and get rid of their political oppressors and finally the religious powers-that-be of the time would recognize his legitimacy and power and turn around their own hypocrisy and corruption.
Sometimes I think we still fall into that trap. We want the Lord, or His representatives, to come and take care of all the hypocrisy and corruption we see, once and for all. While doing what we can, the only part of "reform" that we can control is ourselves. No matter how "bad" things look to us, one Truth still remains: Christ left the Holy Spirit with His Church and promised us never to leave us alone.
Jesus did come. He came first as a baby to a sinless virgin. He came next as Messiah. But human nature goes on. Sin continues to exist. Hypocrisy is still rampant. Didn't Jesus change anything?
From each of our individual perspectives, all that Jesus can change, is our own hearts. Jesus promised us, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They shall be filled."
The righteousness we seek can be in our own hearts if we give them to the Lord this Christmas.