The Third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. From the Latin meaning “rejoice”, Gaudete Sunday marks a midway point that celebrates the closeness of the Lord’s arrival. It is a splendid occasion for us all to recalibrate our preparation with the time that remains before the Nativity of the Lord Jesus to make certain we finish strong.
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Like John the Baptist in today’s Gospel, followers of Jesus bear witness to God’s light. The closer we make our way to God, the stronger our testimony about Him grows. The more we vacate space within ourselves for God, the more we become simple instruments of God, harmoniously blending into the beautiful “voice crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord.”
I AM NOT THE CHRIST
God always keeps His promise.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist appears and witnesses to the arrival of God’s Anointed (John 1:6-8, 19-28). John the Baptist is “precursor” and “voice in the desert” who had been foretold by the prophets.
For the Jews, the rite of immersion (“baptism” means “immersion”) was a legal purification of those who have contracted some impurity under the Law. In addition, “baptism” was used as a ritual act to bring Gentiles into the Jewish people.
John’s “baptism” specifically was understood as an interior conversion. The Baptist’s words and actions are intended to prepare people to receive God’s grace. It is important to note, however, that John’s “baptism” has no power to cleanse the soul of sins as Christian Baptism does.
By means of his comparison of himself to the lowliest servant undoing the straps of his master’s sandals, John the Baptist declares Christ’s supreme authority.
In order to approach Jesus, we must dare to imitate the humility of the Baptist. Despite swelling popularity, John renounces personal aspiration and individual fame. Rejecting self-promotion, he relentlessly draws attention to the One whom he is announcing.
Friends, that is the hallmark of intentional disciples and communities of intentional disciples. Come, Lord Jesus!