Thursday, 8 December 2016

KEEP CALM, REJOICE, JESUS IS COMING! Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent A

1st reading: Isaiah 35:1-6a,10

Psalm: Ps.146:6-7,8-9,9-10

2nd reading: James 5:7-9

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

I had one sad experience early this week. A former classmate of mine in the major seminary, who later chose a different  vocation, got married and had two lovely kids. The first of them, his daughter - Favour took ill of leukemia I guess after her second birthday. The parents did all they could to save her life and give her the opportunity of a painless life but all their efforts seems to be a lost battle.
She was hospitalised in November and since then has been surviving on oxygen. The only option they had was to fly her abroad for treatment but they had not enough fund. Many people, priests, friends and close relations prayed for her survival.
During this period I got a call from another former classmate who now is married and resides in England with his family, he expressed concern over Favour's condition. At this time, I had to contact a popular blogger in Nigeria lindaikeji, so that they can help to advertise the fundraising webpage  formed for Favour by a concerned friend of the family in America.

http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2016/12/2-year-old-ugochi-lawrence-needs-your.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/OqshX+(Welcome+to+Linda+Ikeji%27s+Blog)&utm_content=FaceBook&m=1

However, all these efforts were not enough as God has chosen a better option. Favour returned back to God on the night of 5th Dec. Leaving many in tears and sorrow. In one of my messages to the Father I wrote "My friend, all hope is not lost! Remember Christ is still coming! He comes with Joy, He shall wipe away tears from your eyes; He shall take away your sorrows!"

In the 1st reading, Isaiah continues to give us some great insights on the power of Christ-who is God-who is coming.
He says:
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee."

In the Gospel we found the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophesy when Jesus told the followers of John: "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them." This is what our personal experience of Christ will look like but it must not always come like magic. St. James  in the Second reading made it clear that we ought to be patient until it comes "Be Patient my Brothers and sisters until the coming of Christ". He gave us an example of the time interval between the planting and the harvesting. Then the farmers inner disposition - patience!

BE PATIENT IN PRAYER
Imagine having heard all these good news and yet you happen to experience the story at the beginning what would your faith look like?
(This painting is a depiction of 1. Our world: filled with sin, hate and selfish attitudes which has led many nations to war, 2. Christian attitude: Prayer and patience. 3. Christ words and mission as He comes: by His cross and resurrection He shall set us free, He shall redeem the world. painting by Donald Shaw for www.stmarysbeauly.org)

We cannot loose faith even though it is difficult because it is only in God we can find our rest. Our hope lies in Him and in him we shall have an abundance of life and joy.
As we continue to await with Joy for the celebration of Christ coming, let us pray for those who may find it difficult to see joy this Christmas - the homeless; the orphans; the sick and bedridden; those who mourn, prisoners and addicts, let us ask God to build a mountain of joy and happiness in them even through us and through the people around them. 

Fr. James Anyaegbu
St. Mary's RC Church