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The True Messiah

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A (11/12/2022)

(Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10; James 5: 7-10; Matthew 11:2-11)

By Fr. Samuel Odeh

Today is the third Sunday of Advent and is also known by the name Gaudete Sunday which means “rejoice”.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.  Indeed, the Lord is near” (Phil 4:4-5).  As Christmas approaches, our readings emphasize the happiness and joy the coming of the Messiah will bring.  Our first reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah tells of the great rejoicing that will come to those who experience deliverance at the hands of the Messiah.  In this way we shall be able to tell the difference between a fake Messiah and a genuine or true Messiah.

Waiting is not easy and so today’s second reading from the letter of Saint James tells us to be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord.  We are to live in hope, truly believing that Christ comes to save.  Jesus continues his work in the world through Christians.  We are stop complaining about each other and help other people just as Christ did.  Christians must bear witness to the fact that Christ is in our midst, that Christ is among us.

In our Gospel reading today John the Baptist doubted if Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah.  He sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  He doubted if Jesus was the real or true Messiah because he had expected the Messiah will be a severe and strict judge who will deal ruthlessly with sinners.  Instead in Jesus we see God’s power in use for those who need healing and forgiveness.  This use of God’s power for helping others are the marks of the true Messiah.  It is okay for some of us to doubt like John the Baptist but Jesus praises him as greater than a prophet.  All of us who do the work of God are considered great in the kingdom of God.  May we bring the joy of Christ to as many people as we can this season of Christmas. Amen.

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