a little good news, on the third Sunday of advent

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This antiphon (O’ Wisdom) said at vespers before the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary, is the reason for the rose colored vestments.  It is Guadete Sunday, and Guadete translates rejoice. From that canticle:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.

These words start the joyous mysteries of the Rosary. The announcement, then the wait.

In today’s gospel reading   Jn 1:6-8, 19-28  John the Baptist gives testament to his place in salvation history. The reading opens with:

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.

In one romantic language the word birth translates “to bring into the light.”  John’s testament is that this event is to occur soon.

From Isaiah  Is 61:1-2a, 10-11  :

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation

They echo Mary’s canticle, they speak of something new that comes after a long exile. They speak of something that is about to begin, not something that is about to end. The eager anticipation of the new beginning calls for rejoicing, and that beginning is after a long period of darkness and suffering. (Here is a side note. Isaiah addresses the Babylonian exile  , the suffering and the eventual redemption of an exiled people. For John, the Roman occupation and the Hellenic culture were prominent, not to mention the likes of Herod. What can be said of ‘our time?”)  It is an emotion that has been lost since Advent has been reimagined from a somber and preparative season, into a secular festive season. Guadete Sunday is an anticipation of a joy that is to come, after a darkness.

It is a contrast of hope against despair.  Its the festive anticipation and proclamation of  the dawn, not twilight. Might this be more noticeable with the lighting of a candle? Advent points to Christmas in time. That time is the festive day on a calendar, and  it recalls that time in history. It also points towards the Christmas at the end of time, and possibly “at any time.” (another note: the Jewish calendar and the ancient one is based on a lunar calendar. Our modern calendar is based on a Roman Emperor. Economics have biased the secular “advent” calendar and the light -bulb has influenced our Circadian calendar. Calendars measure time)   It is the preparation for an event that will occur, just as John the Baptist proclaimed. That message is forever proclaimed.

One should not miss that word proclamation, John the Baptist proclaimed that “there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” He proclaimed that the Christ was coming. Something to think about when sending “Christmas Cards.” Those cards proclaim an announcement, they make a statement, and they have a message. That message often is different than the message of cards found in the store. There is a reason for rejoicing, and that reason should be proclaimed. Preparation and proclamation.

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The birth of John can cause one to think of all that led up to the birth of Jesus. John was the forerunner of Christ, they are linked by family and through Mary’s visitation of Johns mother Elizabeth. Both Jesus conception and Johns was announced by an angel. In some ways I think that John possibly started paving the way for the Lord before he became known as the Baptist.

His father Zechariah was a priest, and at birth they were linked through a common religion. It was Elizabeth that exclaimed  Blessed  thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. She then said And why is it, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Elizabeth recognized Mary’s special role in salvation.

For John to carry out his mission of preparing the way for the Lord, the conditions for change had to be right. For John to prepare for the Lord, someone had to prepare the way for John, and that would have been his parents. John’s name Yohanan means graced by God. Jesus name  Emmanuel means God is with us.

 

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O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) is the companion of O Key of David. Key of David is Jesus’s rightful place on the throne of David, and the role as Messiah that title speaks of. O King of the gentiles is the other half that places him a universal King. Universal is Catholic. It is that Kingship that unites all that has been divided, and that which brings peace to the world. It allows people to sing Joy to the world, the Lord has come. An undivided kingdom is one that allows for peace. It is a kingdom united under God and obedient to Gods laws, and not mans whims.

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oa3_editedO root of Jesse is the foundation of the throne of David as Jesse is David’s Father. David’s kingdom was that kingdom all in the people wished to return to, it was the undivided and prosperous kingdom. From the memory of that kingdom springs the kingdom of God that Jesus preaches. The root of Jesse is the kingdom toppled, but also undefeated. From the root springs the nourishment needed for new growth, from that root springs the cross of salvation that is Jesus Christ. It is to that root of Jesse that we cry out to, that we might be freed from all that enslaves us and tears us down, and brought back to that Kingdom of God and that God that is the source of life for all mankind.