Third Sunday of Advent Reflection
For the darkness of hoping in a world which longs for you,
For the wrestling and the labouring of all creation;
For wholeness and justice and freedom.
We praise you, O God.
For the darkness and the light are both alike to you.
This Third Advent Sunday calls us to an encounter with the God Among Us and to an honest reflection on our lives. Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. wrote that Advent is a graced time when we are shaken awake; we are called to integrity and authenticity; we confess and proclaim our faith; and we respond to God with reverent awe. This approach to Advent is what Fr. Delp called an ‘Advent of the heart’.
The Prison Meditations, written by Fr. Delp, offer prayerful reflections on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. His writings, written with bound hands, are filled with trust, peace and reconciliation, and are in sharp contrast to the dark, cold, solitary jail cell where he was held prisoner awaiting his false trial and eventual death. It is profoundly moving that despite being cut off from kind human contact, Fr. Delp’s response is one of hope and joy grounded in the reality of Emmanuel.
John the Baptist, as heard in today’s Gospel, also points to the God Among Us. John clearly understood his own identity and mission. Nothing stopped him from speaking God’s truth. Both John the Baptist and Fr. Delp remind us that willing proclaimers of the Good News are desperately needed. Our turbulent times cry out for nothing less.
“There should never be a lack of prophets like John the Baptist … men and women inspired by the dynamic compulsion of the mission to which they are dedicated, true witnesses following the lead of their hearts and endowed with clear vision and unerring judgment.” (The Prison Meditations)
As we move closer to Christmas, are we becoming more aware of and grateful for the people (prophets) in our lives who proclaim God’s hope, joy, and love, in every situation?
In the remaining weeks of Advent what still needs to happen within us so that an ‘Advent of the heart’ can be fully experienced?
Sr. Teresa Morrison, CPS