• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 13 December 2018 17:33

Third Sunday of Advent - Year C - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

Third Sunday of Advent

Luke 3:10-18



Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestTo borrow a story from Nil Guillemette, Pope Benedict XIV, before being pope was a lawyer and his predecessor Pope Clement XI asked him to be in charge of canonisations for about 20 years. In those years, he wrote a book for the canonisation process which is still being used, despite being written in the 1720s. It is a two volume book and in the first part of the first book, it says that the first quality one has to look for in any candidate to be considered for canonisation is whether the candidate has a “sense of joy”. If this can’t be seen in a person, the canonisation process stops. There is no need to continue the process. The person is simply not a canonisable saint. In other words, joy is the trademark of holiness. 

Before the SVD saints, Arnold Janssen and Joseph Freinademetz, got canonised, there were speculations that Arnold Janssen’s canonisation was taking quite a while because he seemed to be too serious and of all the pictures ever taken of him, he only has one in which he seems to be smiling. As Ss. Francis of Assisi and John Bosco used to say, “A sad saint is a bad saint”. 

This third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday” which means Rejoice Sunday. It means we should rejoice because Christmas is very near. That is why the Church vestments for this day are Rose or Pink if it is possible. 

The gospel for today is a joyful gospel as various people are coming to John the Baptist and are asking for advice on how to turn their lives around. Of all the kinds of people who were coming to John, Luke specified two kinds of people, the tax collectors and the soldiers. And these were the people who seemed to be the most unlikely to come to John and be baptised. The tax collectors were people who were doing the “dirty” work for the Romans. They collected taxes among the people and gave them to their Roman masters. In return, they received a commission, depending on the amount that they collected. And most of the time, they were very corrupt and collected more than what was due so that they would have a higher commission. For the soldiers, the gospel is talking about the soldiers of Herod Antipas since there were no Roman legions yet in Palestine during this time. And these soldiers were known for using their authority to extort from people. John the Baptist doesn’t demand from them that they give up their profession rather they should be honest in what they were doing. 

As people were joyful about this message of John the Baptist, they were anticipating in their hearts that John the Baptist could be the Christ. And at that point nobody could blame them - he had quite a following already. He was baptising and preaching with authority. However, he was quick to point out that he was not the one. There would be somebody who is more powerful than he was. And he was unworthy to untie his sandal straps. In the Jewish culture, the only one who could be obliged to untie a master’s sandal straps was a slave and not any kind of slave, but it must be a foreign slave. Because untying one’s straps was so humiliating that a Jew should not be obliged to do that even if he was willing to do so. This only says that John the Baptist was placing himself even lower than a foreign slave. It only shows his level of humility in front of Jesus. 

As we celebrate Guadete Sunday, we ask ourselves are we really joyful? The one thing that can kill joy is worry. And sometimes as we near Christmas, we tend to be very worried about so many things. We’re worried if we’ll get our Christmas bonus. We’re worried about what gifts to give to friends and relatives. We’re worried about going to the supermarket and buying food for the Christmas party. 

Christmas is near, we shouldn’t be worried but we should be joyful because our salvation is very near.