December 14, 2014 - 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Many of us live with hearts that have been broken. Sometimes our hearts are broken by the death of a loved one. At other time, it can be the death of a relationship.
Sometimes the broken hearted have been hurt so many times that they begin to be afflicted by feelings of worthlessness.
Many of us are held captive by unemployment, by haunting memories of past sins, by worry or anxiety or depression or chronic pain. Sometimes we are bound by the chains of regret or helplessness.
Many of us are imprisoned by financial troubles, by addictions, by fear or illness. Sometimes we are trapped behind the bars of our bad habits.
This Sunday is our Sunday of joy, a time for us to rejoice. Why? Because even when we feel burdened and weighed down, overwhelmed and anxious, the Lord is near. Christmas is near.
And when the Lord comes he always shows great mercy. God heals the broken hearted and brings release to those who are held captive.
Jesus fills the hearts of all who love him. Jesus fills his followers with joy.
John the Baptist directs our gaze to the presence of Jesus the Messiah already among us, a presence we desperately need to recognize.
Why? Because if we don’t recognize Jesus in our midst, we miss the opportunity to have our broken hearts mended, we miss the opportunity to be released from our self-imposed prison cells and from those chains that others may have tried to impose upon us.
John wants us to understand that Jesus is already standing among the people, the Messiah is already among us. Jesus is truly here.
But recognition is only the first step.
For the Lord God to heal broken hearts and to release captives and to set prisoners free, we must do something. We must cooperate with God’s divine plan.
We are all called to play our own part in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation.
Our part might seem small and insignificant, and we may wonder from time to time, “Is this what God is asking me to do? Is what I am doing making any difference?”
What we are doing is making a difference only if we are actually doing what God is asking of us.
If we say yes to God’s divine plan then we find release from captivity. If we say yes to God’s gift of merciful love then we find that our broken hearts begin to mend.
John was called to baptize with water. He did that and found Jesus the Messiah. What are we called to do?
God has called us by name and God will not fail us. Our Advent challenge is to answer that call and ready the way for the Lord.
Jesus is in our lives, in our joys, but also in our trials and tribulations. Jesus is present here and now. Do we recognize him?
May the God of peace who loves you and has called you by name make you perfect and holy. Amen.