Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-2A, 10-11 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 | John 1:6-8, 1928
He has clothed me with a robe of salvation and
wrapped me in a mantle of justice.
Our holy longing is about to be transformed from Advent’s patient waiting to the joy of the birth of the Savior of the World. The manger scene is cold, smelly, and bereft of the requirements of standards for physical conditions under which a healthy baby is received into the world. Yet a star guides three kings to satisfy their curiosity, and they are moved by what they never expected when they arrive at the source of the starlight. They followed the star of wonder, and we are summoned to shed light on the significance of the Incarnation as we share our faith with those who are only interested in Santa Claus, gift-giving, and the allure of our media culture.
The setting so beautifully described in today’s first reading is a golden opportunity for us to reflect upon this last week of Advent.
He has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.
This reading invites us to sit comfortably in this dark season and imagine a soft, warm robe of salvation around our shoulders. Gather around your body the mercy and love received at Baptism. Warm yourself with the thought that a merciful God gifted you with a faith that introduced you to the life and times of Jesus, a human experience of God you remain open to following under brighter lights each Christmas. Be still and ruminate as you become more cognizant of this robe of salvation that has been fitted to your body as was your white Christening attire. Bask in this wonder.
Now, over the robe of salvation, wrap yourself in a mantle of justice and sit quietly in warm comfort while imagining a just world. Leaders concerned about the welfare of the planet and all that rely on its resources, educational institutions that prepare minds for building bridges of connections that join groups for productive living, workplaces that invite all to participate in a safe and constructive environment where there is value and respect amid diversity, addicts who no longer require harmful fixes, families united in love that is passed on to the next generation. These and so many more positive thoughts can contribute to a world desired by our gift-giving God.
Nothing is impossible with God, and this is a grand opportunity for all to celebrate Christ’s coming with clearer minds, more loving hearts, and spirits that radiate what God desires of us.
Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, OP