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Third Sunday of Advent 2018

Frances MacDougall, CND

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

“What should we do?” This was the question all – those being baptized, the tax collectors, the soldiers, etc. – were asking John the Baptist. He made such a deep impression on the people that word spread that he might be the Messiah. He assured them he was not the Messiah. They were attracted to him because he was so single-hearted in the way he lived his life and his mission.

Reflect on those persons to whom you turn in difficult times. Give thanks for their presence in your life.

John the Baptist’s answer to the question “What should we do?” was simple. Give away everything you do not need to someone who does need it. The call is even more clear today when we are so caught up in consumerism and so concerned about respecting our “common home”. However, we know from experience, we need a special grace to respond to this call. Do we have the courage to ask for this grace? The grace to give away the excess in our lives so that others might have all they need to live, and so that we may be more deeply “rooted in Jesus Christ”?

The other theme in today’s readings is Joy. We are invited to “shout aloud and sing for joy” and “to rejoice in the Lord always”. All families rejoice as they prepare for the arrival of a new baby. John the Baptist and Paul both had a strong sense of God’s nearness.

Many persons live in care facilities today. For some people, due to their limitations, it is challenging to live joyfully. My friend, Theresa, who is in her early fifties, blind, and has muscular sclerosis, lives in a care facility where she finds it challenging to keep up the morale of some of her companions. She says she spends her day “trying to be good company for those who are not good company for themselves”.

This Advent season, let us reach out to those on the peripheries who are “not good company for themselves”. Let us ask for the grace to bring some joy into their lives. Then JOY, which is the echo of God’s life in us, will resonate around the world!


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