Third Sunday of Advent -Year A

by Fr Dabulamanzi Ntshangase

Click HERE for Sunday’s readings

Be brave and patient in times of trial

On this gaudate Sunday (third Sunday of Advent) all readings contain words of comfort, patience and perseverance in the waiting of Christ. Isaiah in the first reading calls us to take courage and not to be afraid because God is coming to save us. The Apostle, James, further calls us to be patient and not to lose heart in the waiting for this coming. He urges the kind of patience and hope that farmers show in waiting for their harvest. Jesus directing his words to John the, baptiser, says that ‘blessed is the person who does not lose faith in me.’ This message of perseverance and patience in the waiting of Christ should sink into our hearts because more often than not we find ourselves faced by dark and difficult situations in life. As a result, we lose faith and opt for despair.

Even though, we do everything right, we do our best, but bad things still happen to us. We feel let down by God and end up doubting His love for us. We go as far as doubting His existence. It is at times like these where we need to take courage and heed to the words of Christ who says, ‘blessed is the one who does not lose faith in me.’ Let John, the baptiser, be your inspiration in these times for he was a God-fearing man yet he ended up in prison under the sentence of death. Suffering should not be our gate-pass to despair and infidelity.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we might be perfectly going along but then storms suddenly hit us. They may come in various forms: illness, unemployment and family tragedies. However, all these should and must not ‘separate us from the love of Christ.’ In many cases these storms shatter our faith and we become blind to the will of God, deaf to His Word and lame to our missionary work. As stipulated in the gospel reading, the presence of Christ in our lives and daily dealings should free and heal us from all our ‘blindness’, ‘deafness’ and ‘paralysis’ of our spiritual lives. Advent is a time to remind ourselves about this. Brethren, take courage and not be afraid, persevere and be patient because God would have not brought you this far to leave you a stranger. Truly, as the composer says, ‘…His Grace has led [us] this far and it is His Grace that will lead [us] on…’