Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Homily - Third Sunday in Advent - December 13, 2015

Phil. 4:4-7; Jn. 1:19-28

This Gospel immediately follows the great Prologue of St. John.  You know it well.  It is the second Gospel which we proclaim at the end of every traditional Latin Mass.  In it, it says that St. John the Baptist was not the light, but was sent to bear witness to the light.  And in today’s Gospel, that is what we see, St. John the Baptist bearing witness.  In last Sunday’s Gospel, our Lord referred to St. John the Baptist as His messenger, who prepares the way before Him.  The excellent quality of a messenger is that he says nothing of himself, but is completely dedicated to the one who sent Him.

And so it is that St. John the Baptist says, “I am not.”  Our Lord says, “I am.”  In the Book of Exodus when God is revealed to Moses in the burning bush, he asks Him a wonderful question, “What is your name?” “Who shall I say sent me when the people ask me?”  And God says, “Tell them ‘I am’ sent you.”  It is a wonderful moment.  When we know someone’s name, we are able to enter into a relationship with them.  But it is a mysterious name.  It does not tell us too much about Him.  Then our Lord comes, the fullness of the revelation of the Father, and He says, “I am.”  “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  “I am the Bread of Life.”  The most John will say of himself is that he is the voice, but Christ is the Word, the full revelation of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Logos, a word which in the Greek means plan.  He is the plan and the fulfillment of salvation.  He is the Savior.

John the Baptist is the first of many witnesses to our Lord in the Gospel of John.  The Samaritan woman bears witness to Him, “many Samaritans believed in Him on the strength of her word.”  The works of the Lord bear witness to Him.  If the Pharisees do not believe because of the prophecies of the Old Testament, then the Lord’s works speak of Who He is.  The Father bears witness to Him at His baptism, “This is my beloved Son.”  The Holy Spirit bears witness to Him.  He says to the disciples, “When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of truth, He will bear witness on my behalf.”  And He continues, “And you must bear witness as well.”  The disciples bear witness to our Lord.  We recognize ourselves in the Gospel.  We too bear witness to the Lord.

 The Third Sunday in Advent is Gaudete Sunday, from the introit and epistle from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, “Rejoice always, for the Lord is near.”  We rejoice because we are so close to the celebration of our Lord’s birth at Christmas.  For St. Paul and the Philippians, the coming of our Lord at the end of time was fresh on their minds.  They are thinking of this, too.  But St. Paul says, rejoice, always, because the Lord is always near.  In this in-between time, in between the Lord’s first coming, and His return at the end of time, we bear witness to the Lord, with modesty, that is, humility, the humility of the messenger who is wholly dedicated to the one who sends him, with prayer and thanksgiving—the word for giving thanks in the Greek is eucharistein, a reference to the Eucharist, the Mass, the supreme expression of prayer and thanks, for which we gather on the Lord’s day.  We live in the world bearing witness that Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

At the end of the Gospel, there is a metaphor.  John the Baptist says that he is not worthy to loose the latch of the Lord’s sandals.  His sandals are a sign of His blessed humanity, His blessed humanity, His feet which trod the earth.  John the Baptist knew the kind of messiah our Lord is.  After all, when He presented Himself to be baptized, he said, “There is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.”  He knew he would suffer.  But he could not unlock the mystery of His humanity, only our Lord could do that.  And this He has revealed to us His birth and incarnation, cross and resurrection.  There are many things in life we do not understand, but we have this, for which St. Paul tells the Philippians they may have then the peace with is beyond understanding, that the Lord is near, the Savior, Who has come, Who will come again, Who is with us now, and to Whom we bear witness.