Homily for 3rd Sunday of Advent 2016
A few years ago, I asked my brother who is a builder to build me a house—a simple yet decent-looking country house, simple and beautiful. After agreeing with the cost, and without any ado’s I asked him to purchase the materials and began the construction right away.
I tested my brother’s patience though. Every now and then I would ask for an update of the house, add something there, or don’t put something there. Yet, despite my nagging or my bossiness, he did it religiously, though at times, he expressed being fed up with my interference of the building. If he had the choice, I heard, he could have just built it half-hazardly or even leave it unfinished. Thankfully he finished it regardless.
When I went home that year, I gathered all my family (brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces) all 40 of us I think) in my new house for the house warming
But before the blessing I expressed my thanks to my brother for patiently building the house even me nagging him at times. I also thanked those who had assisted him in the building. Then I surprised them saying: ‘Actually, I don’t like living in this house!’ (Tensed pause). Then I continued: ‘Because this is not my house. This is for you bro. This is my gift for you.’
He was speechless. I could sense his real happiness. He must have been so surprised. I just said to him: “I hope you really put the best materials in here, otherwise, you would have to build another one in a few years time and I wouldn’t be paying for it.”
Friends, our patience always pays off and more often than not, it is for our advantage. The reward our being patient gives is even more beautiful and more meaningful if we keep up doing the right thing, if we keep up using our time wisely and if we don’t take things for granted, and as St James would tell us in our second reading today: ‘if we don’t lose heart.’
If my brother was not very patient with me, or if he lost heart and didn’t finish the house, he would have to bear the cost of finishing it, or just to live in a half-built house. Thankfully he was patient. And now he is living in that house with his wife and 3 kids.
Be Patient, brothers and sisters, is a call for us Christians as we wait for the coming of Christ (at Christmas) and for the second coming. We are to be patient because we just don’t know when Christ comes again.
Patience, according to Joyce Meyer, a spiritual writer, ‘is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.’
And on this 3rd Sunday of Advent, we are called to REJOICE as we wait patiently.
We are called to rejoice ‘gaudete’, because Christ is coming among us to live among us, to show us that we are worth everything for God. For God, we are so precious that only His only Son, Jesus Christ can pay our worth.
We are to rejoice too because in Jesus Christ, we have now the door to salvation. Not only that we have the door, we have the opportunity to go through that door and be saved. It is just my hope and prayer that we don’t take Christ for granted. Friends, Jesus Christ is our only Messiah, He is our only Saviour. The bible tells us this clearly that “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Pope St John Paul II also expressed the same hope in his homily in 1996. He said: ‘My hope is that the Good News of Christ will enter every home and help families to rediscover that only in Christ [we] can find salvation. In him it is possible to find the interior peace, hope and strength necessary to face life’s various situations each day, even those most difficult.’
We are to rejoice even more so now, Christians, because Jesus Christ, the Messiah who was prophesied by the prophets for centuries, including Isaiah in our first reading today, the messiah who was dreamt by many to see and encounter, including John the Baptist, can now be encountered by us personally and intimately in the sacraments, and among us now in this Holy Eucharist.
Everytime we come to mass we experience the presence of Christ our Saviour 4 ways: ‘Among us all as Church gathering together, in the person of the priest, in the Word being read, and in the Bread and wine we receive.’
Friends, in a few days we will be celebrating Christmas, let us endeavour to keep it in our minds and hearts always that “Christ is the real reason for the season. Christ is the real spirit of Christmas. Let us never take him for granted by remembering him in all our Christmas celebrations and in everything we do, otherwise, we might end up frustrated, exhausted for nothing, or worst separated from God for eternity.