3rd Sunday of Advent
Cycle A – 2019
A young man was walking along a beach after a storm when he came upon a half-buried, ancient lantern. He pulled it out of the sand, and rubbed it vigorously. And, of course, a genie appeared and offered him a WISH – anything in the world he wanted! Being a clever fellow, the young man decided to ask for a gift that would “keep on giving” long after the genie was gone. So, he asked for the “MIDAS TOUCH.” And, that’s EXACTLY what he GOT! For the rest of his life, everything the young man touched turned into a MUFFLER!
FALSE EXPECTATIONS mean TROUBLE, as John the Baptizer learned to his sorrow. His interpretation of Isaiah’s prophecies had led him to expect a swift turnabout of this sinful world as soon as the Messiah came: deserts would bloom; the weak would be strong; and virtue would reign! The reality was different: Jesus came – but nothing changed! And, John felt betrayed, so he sent messengers with a pointed question: “Are you the promised one, or must we keep waiting?
FAILED EXPECTATIONS can be especially TROUBLING when they involve our own performance! — We wasn’t to SUCCEED, to please our parents and the Lord, and never to sin. But in real life, our days are confusing mixtures of success and failure! — We anguish over our mistakes and devalue our achievements. And all too easily, our sadness can harden into self-disgust and despair. So how do we break out of this trap so many of us make for ourselves? I think that Jesus might tell us THREE THINGS:
- Don’t expect perfection this side of the grave.
- Invest your whole self in each day – and when it’s done, let it go and give it to God.
- And remember the “unspoken” middle line of the Golden Rule: LOVE YOURSELF AS GOD LOVES YOU. (If you dislike yourself, your neighbor hasn’t got a chance!)
You’re still going to fall short and make foolish mistakes. But you won’t lose hope, because you know that the Father who gave you life loves you even more than you love yourself!
Love God with all your heart.
Love yourself as God loves you.
And then, love your neighbor as you love yourself.