OUR FAITH IS MADE STRONG IN DIFFICULTY

⏰Third Sunday of Advent (Year A) Gaudete

Isa 35:1-6a, 10; Psalm 146:6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10 (R. Isa 35:4); Jam 5:7-10; Matt 11:2-11

OUR FAITH IS MADE STRONG IN DIFFICULTY

The entrance antiphon for today’s liturgy says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.” Indeed, the Lord is near. In our world today, a lot of happenings deny us happiness and sometimes make us to begin to look elsewhere, besides God, for salvation.

There are cases of religious violence, economic recession, unemployment, childlessness, great illness, sudden death of a close relation and so on. With all these, many people would begin to question the real presence of God among us today.

That was also the situation in which John the Baptist found himself in the Gospel. He had expected a messiah who is coming to judge the people with fire and power as we were told in the Gospel of last Sunday (see Matt 3:1-12, especially 7-12). But Jesus reminded him that this messiah is one in accordance with the prophecies about him; instead of being an added burden upon the poor, he provided for their needs (cf. Matt 11:4-6) and instead of outrightly punishing the sinners, he sought their repentance (see Ezk 3:11; Matt 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; 19:10).

Therefore, the message of Isaiah in the First Reading best suits this expected messiah. He is the one who is to give hope to the hopeless and courage to the fearful. Hence, he says to us, “Be strong, fear not” (Isa 35:4). Some other translations of the bible would rather say, Be strong! Do not be afraid.

Incidentally, this expression, “Do not be afraid” occurs about 365 times in the bible, equalling the number of days we have in a year. That informs us that God is ceaselessly telling us each day, “Do not be afraid.” In Matt 28:20 he explains the reason why we should not be afraid, “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). In all tribulations that might come to us in life, we are more than conquerors by the power of him who loved us (cf. Rom 8:37).

So in today’s liturgy, the season of Advent continues in its manner of encouraging us in our difficulties and reminding us of Gods faithfulness to his promises in our different life situations. Whatever the situation might be remember that Christ sits in power in the heavenly places, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:21).

Like the Prophet Isaiah, in the First Reading, St. James, in the Second Reading, encourages us not to lose heart but to wait patiently upon God who would surely fulfil all his promises for us. Remember that it is our endurance that would gain for us, our lives (cf. Luke 21:19).

Beyond that, St. James equally informs us of the need to show the details of our faith through our good works as Jesus did. It is true that Jesus is the expected messiah but he left us the job of completing Gods Kingdom. He is going to judge us on how well we are able to carry out this job. “Blessed are we if we do not lose faith in Jesus. And twice blessed are we if we show forth our faith in deeds of love and mercy.”

Join me in thanksgiving to God for his mercies upon me as I celebrate my birthday today. Pray with me that I may forever be a living and authentic witness to the Gospel which I am ordained to preach.

It is well with you.

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5 Responses

  1. Chine says:

    It is indeed well Fr.I pray that you continue to live in God’s love and always be a strong witness to the Gospel which you proclaim.Happy Birthday as I rejoice and celebrate with uou

  2. adebanji opeyemi says:

    Fr happy birthday to you wish you many happy returns LLNP. Thanks for your beautiful message everyday, your message always touch my heart and he let me no that this life is nothing is only Kingdom of God is very important. May almighty God we continue bless you empowered your strength so that you can deliver a message of God so on, once again wish you happy birthday.
    Signed:
    Adebanji opeyemi Stephen

  3. ISABELLA Amissah says:

    Please join me to pray for my sister Marianas who had been mental y sick for over thirty years

  4. ISABELLA Quagraine says:

    Happy birthday Father, please join me pray for my sister Marianan who had been mental y sick for over thirty years to b heal do and for me to get a good job.

    • Fr. JohnBosco Ezeonwumelu says:

      Length of time does not matter to God because God is time himself! It does not matter how long your sister has been sick, the glory of the Lord shall overshadow her.

      As for your quest for job, be patient, God is cooking your fish. As soon as it is done, you shall have a sumptuous meal. And I pray that it be soon.

      It is well with you.

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