The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
The Gospel of the Lord
by Mary O’Brien, SNDdeN
“Rejoice, daughter of Jerusalem”
The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday – a day to rejoice. The time of Advent waiting continues but this Sunday is an opportunity to look back and to look forward. We can look back at the themes of our waiting in the previous two weeks and then then look forward to the next ten days to decide how we want to continue our preparation so as to be as ready as we can be when we attend the first Mass of Christmas.
In the Gospel it is John who is preaching bringing the message of the coming of the Messiah. He is making clear that it is not he who is the Messiah but that the One who is expected will very soon arrive. So, we are waiting with joy. We all have many experiences of waiting covering every emotion but each Advent is different as we ourselves have grown in the year since our last celebration of the feast. As time passes perhaps we can see that we have developed a new approach to most of our waiting. Rather than being totally impatient we may find ourselves being more ready to wait peacefully with a certainty that what we cannot change we can live through.
In the second reading we are told, “I want you to be happy.” The reading continues encouraging prayer for anything we need and especially for peace, true peace. World peace must begin with each one of us striving for hearts at peace with ourselves so that we can make peace with and for others.
It is not yet Christmas but the time is very near so that the expectation is growing and the need for all of us to look at ourselves in the light of Christ so that our preparation for Christmas becomes a source of joy. Preparing for Christmas can be a very busy time in the sense of messages and presents and arrangements and shopping. But that is the surface. Deep down we are all waiting for and making ourselves ready to receive the peace which Christ will bring this year.
Meet Sr. Mary O’Brien
Mary O’Brien was educated at Notre Dame High School Manchester. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Ashdown, England, in 1962. After her religious profession in 1965, she was missioned to Liverpool to teach in Notre Dame Collegiate School, Everton Valley and then in Notre Dame High School, St. Helens. Then, back in Liverpool, she spent ten years in Notre Dame High School Woolton which, on reorganization, became St. Julie’s High School, Woolton. Sister Mary went to Kenya in 1992 where she taught for some years, and made many contacts. She was then engaged in ministry and administration in the Kenya Province until 2018 when she returned to the British Province.