Third Sunday of Advent
The snow storm that had started last night kept pouring down this morning. My mom asked me whether we could still go to the Church. I knew it’s quite some snow storm but still committed to attend the 10:30am Mass at Saint Joseph the Worker. Around 9:45am I went out to wipe down the snow and warm up the car. Good that we already shoveled the snow from the driveway last night. Soon enough, my hair, jacket and pants were covered with this white powder. The speed of snow pour outpaced the speed of my snow brush. *smile* It took me 15 minutes to make the car ready for the journey to the Church.
Around 10:00am I and my mom headed out to the Church. Although it’s almost zero visibility at that time, I was so excited – because of that familiar sound of snow under the car and the feeling of ‘adventure’. (I guess I have yet lost my fond of adrenaline rush.) My mom kept asking whether we’re OK. Well, I said confidently, “Yes, you’re in good hands, me and God.” *smile* I told my mom not to worry because I did it before – during the 2000 snow storms that happened beginning in early November and the following four winters.
I decided to make a U-turn when I realized that I missed the right turn to the Church due to almost zero visibility. The car slid into a small street that looked never been driven since the snow storm hit the area. I switched to reverse mode and hit the gas pedal. The car just moved a bit and then gave that “rrrrggggg” sound. Then I went out of the car – the whole tires almost buried in snow powder; I couldn’t ask for help because nobody seemed to be outside of their houses or on the road; and I didn’t have the shovel with me, just a snow brush. I’m stuck. I suddenly recalled what Thea always said when she sat in her high chair, ‘I’m stuck.’ *smile*
After a couple of back-and-forth maneuvers, I could make the car back into the main road. We finally arrived at the Church about 10 minutes before the Mass started. Father Mario went around and asked people about their driving to the Church. Jokingly he said, “I guess we know who real Catholics are now. Oh, no, we pray for our brothers and sisters who can’t come to join us for Mass today because of this weather.” The Mass started on time and the Church was three-fourths full.
This third Sunday of Advent has traditionally been called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ or ‘Rose Sunday’. Gaudete is the Latin word for Rejoice and today the Church rejoices that Advent is half over and the coming of Jesus at Christmas is closer. The Church also changes from its traditional Advent color of Purple to the color of Rose.
The following was taken from Sunday Missal 2007-2008 (by Thomas Rosica, Toronto, Ontario):
Today’s gospel presents us with a poignant scene if the life of one of the great Advent heroes, John the Baptist. Alone, imprisoned and near the end of his life, the “greatest of all prophets” had to ask the question, “Are you really the Messiah?”
John was entrapped not only in Herod’s dungeon, but, even worse, in the prison of despair and doubt. He was not ashamed to ask the question of Jesus, “Are You the One?” We should not be surprised if we find ourselves asking the same question—Is Jesus really the answer to all the evils and sadness of the world and of our own lives? Is Christian living really worth it? Why don’t we have bigger and better and quicker results of our efforts at spreading the kingdom?
John probably expected a fiery social reformer to come and bring about the kingdom—certainly not someone who would associate with the poor, the lame, the blind, outcasts and sinners.
Jesus invites John to look around and see the works that have already been accomplished in the midst of the people. The blind recover their sight and the lame are walking again. Diseases and illness are healed and those who were deaf can hear. The good news is now preached to the poor. That is the greatest wonder of all… then and now!
Father Mario showed us a video from GodTube during the Homily. People have YouTube to broadcast almost anything about them and for their own amusement, but now people have the GodTube to broadcast about Him and for our own prayer. I think this is a good format to communicate with young people or as an opener for communication between parents and children – as a mother in front of me looked toward her son and asked ‘what is YouTube?’
It’s a dance-formatted story: God provides everything good for the people. When the people are close to God then we will have happiness. People, especially young people, are tempted by many things that look and feel good in this world. There are five temptations that keep constant touch and influence to people’s daily life, namely lust and romance, money and materialism, booze & drug and alcoholism, vanity (people starve themselves to look good), self destruction, suicidal exit from life. These temptations erode people relationships with God and widen the communication gap with God. Then it gets to the point where people feel empty and helpless – we want to get out of that sinking feeling. We try, we fight – but all that glitters already have us deep in their grasp. We crawl and fall and wounded and almost die – but God comes to save us. Then, we are happy and rejoicing to be in His embrace again.
Then, of course, comes the cliché question: If God is so powerful why He didn’t come to save us before we got carried away and wounded? And, the cliché answer will be: God provides us with free will so we have the dignity to lead our lives as we see it fits. He lets us decide what true happiness is.
Before Father Mario ended the Mass, he read the following poem:
My First Christmas with Jesus
I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars,
reflecting on the snow.
The sights is so spectacular,
please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can’t compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you,
the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description,
to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away,
we really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones,
you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I’m spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.
I sent you each a special gift,
from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory
of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious
than pure gold.
It was always most important
in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other,
as my Father said to do.
For I can’t count the blessing or love
He has for each of you.
So have a merry Christmas and
wipe away that tear.
Remember, I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.
The snow kept throwing its storm when I made the drive home. I believe my mom was glad to have this experience. *smile*