My Dear Parishioners,
 One major theme of Advent is hope. As the Church uses the color rose this weekend, it is a symbol of hope and joy, not only in the approaching of the Nativity of Jesus’ birth but also in the potential of all God’s creation to fulfill its ultimate vocation.
Of all the cycles of our Church calendar, this Third Sunday of Advent in Year C is considered one of the best in its selection of readings that cause us to rejoice, to have patience, to persevere and to do so with joy. The prophet Zephaniah exhorts the people to shout and sing joyfully, to be glad and exult with all their hearts. Prior to this the people had turned away from the one true God and had introduced idolatry back into their midst. The king, having recognized this, introduced religious reform to bring back the purity of Judaism and the Law of the Lord.
The psalmist today invites us to join in his song of joy and exultation, indeed, for God is already in their midst. Paul, too, in his Letter to the Philippians challenges us to rejoice always! Even though Christ has come, suffered, risen and ascended to the Father, the Lord is always with us. We can call upon Him, and he inspires us to live our faith. In doing so, we truly become missionaries, new evangelists, who invite others to come to Christ, wanting to share what we already possess. This is a hope which exceeds our simple expectations about numbers and success. It is God’s gift.
Finally, in the Gospel, the people had expectations. They awaited a promised Messiah who would save his people; primarily from Roman and foreign occupation, they thought. John the Baptist tells them very clearly, that he is not the Messiah, but to
joyfully hope for the one who is coming who will exceed all of their expectations. His ministry will not simply be mundane, but spiritual, bringing eternal life to all. Let us join in John’s example and use many ways to share the Gospel message to all people. May our lives reflect such joy and hope.
God Bless, Msgr. Maresca