St. Barnabas Homily,3rd Sunday Advent GAUDETE SUNDAY 12/16/2018 (LUKE 3: 10 - 18)Yr C

    THIS WEEKEND,,, WE CELEBRATE THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT,,, WHICH IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS: GAUDETE SUNDAY,,, WHICH IN THE LATIN;  IS PRONOUNCED: “DOMINO SEMPER”,,, MEANING;  REJOICE” IN THE LORD ALWAYS!  
  THIS WEEKEND,,, WE CONTINUE TO PREPARE FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’S NATIVITY AND THE CELEBRANT WEARS A ROSE COLORED CHAUSABLE,,, AND WE LIGHT THE ROSE COLORED CANDLE.  
  THE ADVENT WREATH IS SHAPED IN A CIRCLE,,,  TO SYMBOLIZE THE ETERNITY OF GOD,,,  
  THE 1ST CANDLE,,, SYMBOLIZES “EXPECTATION”,,,    THE 2ND CANDLE,,, SYMBOLIZES “HOPE”,,,    THE 3RD CANDLE,,, SYMBOLIZES “JOY”,,, AND,,,  THE 4TH CANDLE,,, SYMBOLIZES “PURITY”,,, AND,,,  THE WHITE CANDLE,,, IS LIT ON CHRISTMAS EVENING TO REMIND US,,,    THAT JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  
  YOU SEE,,, BEFORE MODERN ELECTRICITY,,, THE ADVENT WREATH,,, BROUGHT LIGHT INTO THE CHURCH,,, SO THE CONGREGATION COULD SEE IN THE DARK,,, BUT TODAY IT REMINDS US,,,  THAT THE LIGHT OF CHRIST- IS COMING INTO OUR WORLD.  THIS SUNDAY,,, WE’VE REACHED THE 3RD WEEK OF THE ADVENT SEASON,,, AND ON THE ALTAR,,, WITHIN THE ADVENT WREATH,,, WE LIT THE ROSE COLORED GAUDETE CANDLE.     
  OUR GOSPEL,,, HAS A STRONG MESSAGE,,, AS WE APPROACH THE BIRTH OF JESUS.  IT INVITES US TO LIVE OUT OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE,,, SO THAT IT WILL PRODUCE,,, “THE FRUIT OF OUR FAITH”.     DOES ANYONE REMEMBER “ART LINKLETTER?”  WELL,,, ANYWAY,,, IF YOU’LL REMEMBER,,, IN HIS SHOW,,, ART HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH CHILDREN,,, WHERE HE ASKED THEM QUESTIONS.  
  (*) ONCE HE ASKED A CHILD,,, THIS QUESTION:     “WHAT IS LOVE?” THE CHILD ANSWERED:  “ITS WHEN MOMMY MAKES A CUP OF COFFEE FOR DADDY,,, THEN SHE TASTES IT FIRST,,, TO MAKE SURE IT TASTES OK!”  (*) ANOTHER CHILD SAID:  “LOVE IS WHEN YOUR PUPPY LICKS YOUR FACE,,, EVEN AFTER YOU’VE LEFT HIM ALONE,,, ALL DAY”.  (*) AND YET ANOTHER CHILD SAID:  LOVE IS WHEN YOU SAY IT A LOT,,, BECAUSE YOU MEAN IT,,, AND BECAUSE SOMETIMES,,, PEOPLE FORGET!”  BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, JOHN THE BAPTIST’S MESSAGE OF REPENTENCE REGARDING BAPTISM,,, WAS MOTIVATED BY: PURE LOVE,,, EVEN AS HE SAID THIS TO THE CROWD OF SKEPTICAL PEOPLE,,, WHO WERE WATCHING!  “YOU BROOD OF VIPERS.  WHO WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE COMING WRATH?     PRODUCE THE FRUIT OF REPENTENCE!  THE AXE IS ALREADY AT THE ROOT OF THE TREE,,, AND THE TREE THAT DOES NOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT,,, WILL BE CUT DOWN,,, AND THROWN INTO THE FIRE”.  
  IN TODAY’S LANGUAGE,,, WE WOULD HAVE TO CALL THIS: “TOUGH LOVE” WOULDN’T WE?  
  YOU SEE,,, JOHN WAS ABSOLUTELY AND SINCERELY CONCERNED,,, REGARDING THEIR “DEAD RELIGION” AND MAKING THE WAY CLEAR,,, FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE MESSIAH,,, JESUS!  THERE WAS A HUGE STRUGGLE GOING ON HERE,,,  BETWEEN THE HYPOCRACY,,, OF THE PHARISEES,,, THE PRIESTS,,, AND ALL OF THE MAN MADE LAWS,,, THAT WERE IMPOSED ON THE PEOPLE.  
  THEIR MESSAGE WAS; “JUST DO THE THINGS THAT WE TELL YOU TO DO,,, AND THEN LIVE LIKE YOU WANT!”,,,  AS COMPARED TO THE MESSAGE,,, OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!  
  JOHN HAD NO OTHER CHOICE,,, EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH “TOUGH LOVE”.  HE HAD TO BRING THE MESSAGE OF REPENTENCE AND THE LIGHT OF TRUTH AND FREEDOM,,, TO THEM!  
  THEN,,, SOMETHING WONDERFUL OCCURRED,,,THE CROWDS MUST HAVE HEARD JOHN’S MESSAGE,,, BECAUSE THEY BEGAN TO ASK JOHN THE BAPTIST,,, WHAT HIS MESSAGE OF:  “JUDGEMENT WITHOUT REPENTENCE”  REALLY MEANT,,, AND THEY MUST HAVE BECOME CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR ETERNAL CONDITION.    
  FOR WITHOUT REPENTENCE,,,    THERE CAN BE NO RECONCILLIATION WITH GOD THE FATHER,,, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.  
  OTHER GOSPELS TELL US,,, THAT THERE WERE MANY IN THE CROWDS,,, WHO REPENTED OF THEIR SINS AND WERE BAPTIZED,,, THAT VERY DAY!  
  BEFORE THEIR BAPTISM,,, THEIR ATTITUDE WAS,,,    “WE CAN LIVE ANYWAY WE WANT!  THE WORLD,,, AND EVERYBODY IN IT,,, EXISTS TO SERVE ME!”  “THEY WERE AN “I & ME,,, SELF-CENTERED SOCIETY”.        
  WASN’T THAT SOMETHING?  WELL,,, NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED!  MIGHT HAVE EVEN BECOME WORSE?  
  BUT AFTER BAPTISM,,, AND A CONVERSION OF HEART THE PEOPLE ASKED JOHN: “WHAT SHOULD WE DO”?  THEY HAD HEARD JOHN SAY: “THAT THERE MUST BE SOME VISABLE “FRUIT OF REPENTENCE,,, OR,,, IN OTHER WORDS,,, A VISIBLE SHOW OF FAITH!”  \  JOHN SAID TO THEM; WHOEVER HAS TWO CLOAKS,,, SHOULD SHARE WITH THE PERSON WHO HAS NONE,,, AND WHOEVER HAS FOOD,,, SHOULD DO LIKEWISE!  
  EVEN THE TAX COLLECTORS CAME TO BE BAPTIZED! THESE WERE THE PEOPLE WHO WERE CONSIDERED TRAITORS TO THE JEWS,,, BECAUSE THEY TOOK THE PEOPLES MONEY,,, AND GAVE IT TO THE ROMANS,,, WHILE KEEPING SOME FOR THEMSELVES.  
  JOHN DIDN’T SAY: QUIT YOUR JOBS,,, OR,,, YOU SHOULD BECOME A MONK,,, LIKE ME!  
  HE SAID; KEEP YOUR JOB FREE FROM GREED AND SELF-GRATIFICATION!  STOP COLLECTING MORE THAN IS PRESCRIBED!  
  THE SAME WENT FOR THE SOLDIERS.  JOHN DIDN’T TELL THEM TO QUIT THEIR JOBS EITHER,,, HE TOLD THEM; TO DO THEIR JOBS WITH HONOR,,, AND NOT TO ABUSE THEIR POWER.  DO NOT PRACTICE EXTORTION,,, DO NOT FALSELY ACCUSE ANYONE,,, AND BE CONTENT WITH YOUR WAGES!  
  THE PEOPLE WERE FILLED WITH EXPECTATION AND ALL WERE ASKING,,, IN THEIR HEARTS,,, WETHER JOHN THE BAPTIST,,, MIGHT BE THE CHRIST!  JOHN SAID TO THEM;  I AM BAPTIZING YOU WITH WATER,,, BUT ONE MIGHTIER THAN I,,, IS COMING.  I AM NOT WORTHY TO LOOSEN THE THONGS OF HIS SANDALS.  HE WILL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE.  
  WE WHO HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED,,, INTO CHRIST JESUS,,, AND WHO PROFESS A LIVING FAITH,,, AND A CONVERSION OF HEART,,,  HAVING RECEIVED THE GRACE,,, MERCY AND FORGIVENESS OF JESUS,,, INTO OUR HEARTS BY FAITH,,, NEED TO ASK OURSELVES THESE QUESTIONS    (*) IS THERE ANY FRUIT OF REPENTENCE,,, IN MY LIFE?  (*) IS THE PEACE OF CHRIST,,, PRESENT IN MY LIFE?  (*) AM I CONFIDENT,,, OF ETERNAL LIFE?  (*) DO I KNOW THAT JESUS FORGIVES ME,,, WHEN WITH     A CONTRITE HEART,,, I REPENT OF MY SINS?  (*) WHAT KIND OF FRUIT IS THERE IN MY LIFE,,, THAT     SHOWS EVIDENCE OF MY FAITH?  (*) DOES GOD SEE ANY FRUIT IN MY LIFE?    
  BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, WE DON’T HAVE JOHN THE BAPTIST IN OUR LIVES TODAY,,, TO GIVE US SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS,,, ON HOW TO CHANGE OUR LIVES,,, AS HE DID,,, TO THOSE WHO ASKED HIM,,, SO VERY LONG AGO!  
  BUT,,, WHAT WE DO HAVE,,, IS THE WORD OF GOD,,, THAT WAS PUT INTO JOHN THE BAPTIST’S MOUTH,,, BY GOD!  
  IT’S TRUE,,, WE DON’T HAVE THE SAME JOBS,,, AS THE FOLKS OF SO LONG AGO,,, BUT,,, JOHN’S MESSAGE IS STILL THE SAME MESSAGE,,, AND THAT IS;  THAT THE FRUIT OF REPENTENCE,,, PRODUCES A FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS,,, THAT IS ACTIVE!  
  FRUITFUL,,, ACTIVE FAITH,,, BROTHERS & SISTERS,,, IS GETTING INVOLVED WITH OTHER PEOPLE,,, SHARING GOD’S GRACE WITH THEM,,, AND IT’S LOVING,,, OR,,, DOING SOMETHING,,, FOR YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST,,, OR,,, FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR!  
  JOHN’S FUNDAMENTAL MESSAGE OF A FRUITFUL LIFE,,, IS THIS:       
  
  (*) TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT!  (*) SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE WITH OTHERS WHO     HAVE DON’T HAVE!  (*) DON’T RIP PEOPLE OFF!  (*) DON’T POWER PLAY,,, AND TRY TO INTIMIDATE     OTHERS,,, IN ORDER FOR YOU TO SUCCEED!  
  SCRIPTURE TELLS US,,, THAT OUR CONVERSION OF HEART,,, TAKES PLACE,,, WHEN WE RECEIVE THE GRACE AND FORGIVENESS OF JESUS CHRIST,,, INTO OUR HEARTS BY FAITH,,, AND WHEN WE MAKE HIM,,, THE LORD OF OUR LIVES!    
  WHEN WE DO THAT,,, IT SHOULD CHANGE OUR THINKING,,, FROM BEING EGO CENTERED PEOPLE,,, WHO THINK THAT THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND US,,, TO BEING CHRIST CENTERED PEOPLE,,, WHO HAVE ALLOWED OUR LIVES TO REVOLVE AROUND JESUS,,, AND HIS WILL!  
  JOHN THE BAPTIST GIVES US THE MOTIVATION,,, A SOUND FOUNDATION,,, AND THE STRENGTH TO MAKE PERMANENT,,, OUR CONVERSION OF HEART AND OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH,,, WHICH PRODUCES,,, THE FRUITS OF REPENTENCE AND FAITH!  
  WHEN JOHN PLACED HIS FAITH SQUARELY IN CHRIST,,, HE WAS SHOWING US,,, BY HIS EXAMPLE,,, THAT HE WANTS US TO DO THE SAME!     
  BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, HAVE NO FEAR!  PLACE YOUR FAITH SQUARELY IN CHRIST JESUS,,, THE ONE UNCHANGEABLE,,, ETERNAL,,, GOD IN THE FLESH,,, WHO FILLS THE BELIEVEING HEART,,, WITH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!    
  DURING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON,,, AS WE PREPARE TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST,,, & ANTICIPATE HIS SECOND COMING,,,    WE CAN EXPERIENCE,,, EITHER A CROP FAILURE,,, OR,,, THE FRUIT OF REPENTENCE ,,, AND THE PROCESS OF A CONVERSION OF HEART,,, FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.    
  BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, THE CHOICE IS YOURS!    IT ALL DEPENDS UPON HOW MUCH WE ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO INSTILL INTO OUR HEARTS,,, THE REALITY,,, THAT CHRIST HAS FILLED US WITH HIS SPIRIT,,, KNOWING; THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS,,, WON HEAVEN FOR US,,, AND EMPOWERS US TO LIVE SPIRIT FILLED AND CONTROLLED LIVES,,, AS WE SURRENDER OURSELVES TO HIM.  
  ONLY THEN,,, CAN WE PRODUCE THE LASTING FRUIT OF REPENTENCE AND FAITH,,, TO GOD’S GLORY,,, UNTIL CHRIST COMES AGAIN!      +++ AMEN +++  (1,447 Wds – 7pgs)