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Rejoice in Hope - John the Baptist & Gaudete Sunday

Dr. Marcellino D'AmbrosioJohn the Baptist Teaches Us To

Rejoice in Hope

3rd Sunday in Advent--Gaudete Sunday

by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio  

 

 

Moses and the Pharaoh

Moses’ mission had taken him quite a distance.  From the splendor of Pharaoh’s palace, to a stroll through the Red Sea, to wrestling with Israel’s stubbornness for forty years in the desert.  How sad that he never made it across the Jordan!  But God did give him a moment of consolation.  He brought him up to the top of Mount Nebo and showed him the Promised Land.

 

John the Baptist had a similar mission.  He proclaimed the imminent coming of the Kingdom and labored tirelessly to prepare the way.  Yet, on a Sunday that is supposed to be about joy, we find him locked in a dismal dungeon, awaiting execution.  He sends a message to his cousin, looking for some shred of hope.  “Are you the one who is to come?”

 

Nativity, Advent, Catholic Church, Christmas

The message sent back to him no doubt made excitement surge throughout his weary bones.  The prophecy of Is 61 had been fulfilled: the blind see, cripples walk, lepers become clean, the dead are raised, and the poor hear good news.  This can mean only one thing-the anointed one, the messiah, has come.

 

But though John had seen the anointed one and heard of his wonderful works, he, like Moses, did not enter into the Kingdom during his lifetime.  This is the meaning of the puzzling words of Jesus: “History has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptizer.  Yet the least born into the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).

 

John only caught a glimpse of the first light before sunrise.  For the dawn from on high would not break upon the world until Easter morning.  The birth of Jesus, his teaching and even his miracles were but a preparation for the Kingdom of God, for the righteousness, peace, love, and joy that could only have been made possible by the Messiah’s death, resurrection, and sending of the Spirit.

 

Who is greater than John?  The little baby who is incapable of doing very much at all, but who through the saving waters of baptism, is born into the Kingdom of God (Jn 3:5).  This baby is born not of woman, like John, but of water and the Holy Spirit.  The greatness of this baby is a pure gift of God’s grace, the gift of being an adopted child of God and temple of the Holy Spirit.

 

 It is good to pause a moment and think about the difference made by Christ’s first coming.  Old Covenant vs. New.  Works vs. Grace.  Written law vs. the law of the Spirit.  Liberation from Pharaoh vs. liberation from Satan.  An eye for an eye vs. the Sermon on the Mount.

 

Come again in Glory, Jesus, The Eucharist

It is also good to pause a moment to remember the difference between His first Coming and his Second.  Mortality vs. immortality.  The darkness of faith vs. the beatific vision.  The valley of tears vs. unending joy.

 

While Christ’s first coming transformed the meaning of suffering, it did not banish it.  His Second Coming, however, will!  At the sight of him riding upon the clouds, “sorrow and mourning will flee.”  (Is 35:10)

 

Yes, we have been saved.   But we have not yet fully taken possession of our salvation.  We have tasted the first fruits, we have received the down-payment.  But the rest is held for us in trust.

 

The confident anticipation of this inheritance is known as hope.  This unsung hero among the theological virtues is terribly important, because it makes patience possible.  You can endure hardships cheerfully (James 5:7-10) only when the anticipated reward makes it all worthwhile.

 

3rd Sunday in Advent, Christmas, John the Baptist

Hope is also important because it is the key to joy.  And that’s why the third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete” or “Rejoice” Sunday.  The vestments change from penitential purple to rose because the suffering of this present age is as nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

 

Moses rejoiced on Nebo.  John rejoiced even in chains.  In the midst of this valley of tears, let us Rejoice in Hope (Romans 12:12).

 

This originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on the scripture readings for the Third Sunday in Advent, cycle A (Is 35, 1-6, 10; Ps 146; Jas 5:7-10; Mt 11: 2-11).  It is reproduced here by permission of the author.

 

For more on St. John the Baptist and finding joy in hope, click here

 

To read St. Augustine on the Humility of John the Baptist, click here

 

 

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I Believe - The Heart of Catholic Faith

by: Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What exactly is the Creed?

In this dynamic, four-part series, Dr. D'Ambrosio explains how this expression of the fundamental beliefs of our faith is critical to our Christian Lives.

 

He notes that faith is not a denial of the intellect, but rather a fulfillment of our deepest need for the truth - of our deepest need for a relationship with our Creator.

 

The Creed teaches us that God is a communion of Persons - the Trinity. With enlightening metaphors and colorful anecdotes, Dr. D'Ambrosio shows that we are called to "live the Creed" by developing a loving relationship with God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and to have a deep devotion to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

 

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 Catholic Music, Christian Music, Curtis Stephan, Catholic Christmas Celebrate Christmas with Curtis Stephan - 14 Holiday Songs!
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Personal Prayer - Pathway to Joy - CD
 Personal Prayer Pathway to Joy, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Catholic Faith Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?

 


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