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Sunday, December 12, 2004

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Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
James 5:7-10
Psalm 146
Matthew 11:2-11

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a long-suffering advent

"Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand." —James 5:8

To prepare for Christ's coming at the end of the world, at our deaths, and at Christmas, we must be "patient," or better translated, "long-suffering" (Jas 5:7). We must be like a farmer waiting for "the precious yield of the soil" (Jas 5:7). This refers to a farmer in a desert of the Middle East two thousand years ago. This is a farmer who would often be starving or close to starving before the next harvest. In other words, to prepare for Christ's coming we must suffer like a starving farmer, a persecuted prophet (Jas 5:10), or like the grieving, traumatized Job (Jas 5:11).

To prepare for Christ's coming, we must take up our daily crosses (Lk 9:23), die to ourselves (Jn 12:24), and suffer in the pattern of Jesus' death (Phil 3:10). To meet Christ this Christmas time, we must make sacrifices, deny ourselves, practice mortification (such as fasting), and live a more austere life (see Mission of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul II, 59).

Without the labor of pregnancy, there is no birth. Without the death on the cross, there is no resurrection. Without the long-suffering of Advent, there will be no true Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, on this "Gaudete" Sunday, because of my love for You, I rejoice to suffer and sacrifice.

Promise:  "The blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them." —Mt 11:5

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, "He Who is to come" (Mt 11:3),  the Judge Who "stands at the gate" (Jas 5:9).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004