December 15, 2013 – Third Sunday of Advent
Is 35: 1-6A, 10; Ps 146: 6-10; Jas 5: 7-10; Mt 11: 2-11
Advent, as we have learned in the readings for the previous two weeks, is a time to awaken and a time to change. Referenced in today’s first reading from Isaiah, it is no time for “feeble” hands or “weak” knees or “frightened” hearts. “Be strong; fear not.”
This is a time when we are strengthened by our faith. When Isaiah speaks of the blind seeing and the deaf hearing and the mute singing, he is talking about us. It is very easy during this busy season to get caught up in all the things that do not focus us on the coming of the Lord. If we truly embrace stewardship, however, we plan our days and we set aside time each day to pray and to concentrate on the coming of Jesus — both in the sense of His impending birth and the idea of His second and final coming.
Jesus reflects this imminent turnaround in the Gospel of Matthew, proclaiming “the blind regain their sight… the deaf hear… the lame walk.” He tells us to “hear and see.” Later in the Book of Matthew we are told “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” It is the Third Sunday of Advent and it is time to strengthen our faith and to lift our spirits. During Advent a few years ago, the Holy Father Benedict opened an audience by praying, “Come Jesus; give strength to the light and to the good.” Now is the time.