Cycle (C) 3rd Sunday in Advent

 Zeph.3:14-18a; Phil.4:4-7; Lk.3:10-18

Have you ever experienced a ‘God moment’, an unexplainable touch of grace in your life?

God is always looking out for us, and he has countless ways to send us guidance. This story will bring a smile to your face as we hear the story of how a cat was instrumental for saving its owner from death.

Every day a woman took her cat for a walk around her property. Afterwards the woman and the cat would sit under a tall Liquidambar tree together while she spent time praying and reading the Bible.

One day, at the end of their walk, the cat refused to go near the tree. The woman tried three times to persuade the cat, but it wouldn’t budge. So she picked the cat up and took her back to the house.

A few minutes later, the tree crashed to the ground, destroying further trees around it. If they’d been under it, they both would have been killed.

She recalled “I could not believe how I’d been saved! That was my incredible God moment through my cat.”

This amazing story is a reminder that we need to listen carefully for God’s messages.

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote that God designed man to find his supreme happiness in Him alone.   But disobedience robbed man of the joy that only God can give.  Satan convinced our ancestors in the Garden of Eden that they could invent some kind of happiness apart from God.  He deceived Eve into believing that she could be “like God,” and that God was withholding something good from her.  That first bite of forbidden fruit was nothing more than a hopeless attempt to find something other than God to make her happy.  Out of that first choice flowed all of human history…countless attempts throughout the ages to find joy somewhere other than in God.  Money, poverty, ambition, war, slavery, empires – the long, dreadful story of man’s futile attempts to satisfy an unquenchable thirst. The psalmist who realized this wrote:

“You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

In today’s readings prophet Zephaniah, St Paul and John the Baptist tell us that the presence of God gives man great joy. Prophet Zephaniah admonishes, “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart” In the second reading St. Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” And in the Gospel John the Baptist taught the people to return to God. He lays down certain conditions for man to be reinstated into the company of God. People asked him, 'What then should we do?' In reply he said to them, 'Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.'

There once was a farmer who grew the most excellent wheat. Every season he won the award for the best wheat in his county.

A wise woman came to him to ask him about his success.

He told her that the key was sharing his best seed with his neighbors so they could plant the seed as well.

The wise woman asked, “How can you share your best wheat seed with your neighbors when they compete with you every year?”

“That’s simple,” the farmer replied. “The wind spreads the pollen from everyone’s wheat and carries it from field to field. If my neighbors grew inferior wheat, cross-pollination would degrade everyone’s wheat, including mine. If I’m to grow the best wheat, I must help my neighbors grow the best wheat as well.”

This is not only excellent advice for growing the best crops, but also great advice for how to live your life.

If you want to live a meaningful and happy life, help others find happiness.

Remember: The value of your life is measured by the lives you touch with love, kindness, respect, and hope.

During the last few months everything changed. COVID taught us new lessons, new trends, new outlooks and new practices. In the schools where mobile was forbidden, mobile became a necessity. If someone stayed away from school, he was called a truant, but today it became mandatory to stay at home. Children were forced to avoid parks and outings. Churches remained closed and people switched over to online.

A little boy who could not meet his friend asked his father. “Daddy, where is Robin?” The father knew that Robin’s family was affected with COVID and the child was in quarantine. The father explained to the little boy as he could grasp about COVID and what is the meaning of quarantine. Then the little boy murmured, “Robin cannot come out. He has to stay at home”. The father did not know what was going on in the mind of his son. He bought an ice cream for him to divert his attention. The little boy insisted that he wanted two. So the father bought two ice cream. The son told him, “Let us go back.” As soon as he reached he ran to Robin’s house. Rang the bell and waited for someone to open the door. When the door was opened he stretched out his little hand with ice cream and said. “This is for Robin. Since he cannot come out I will bring my toys also for him to play.”

This is what John told his hearers to do, to return to God. And the season of Advent reminds us of this great lesson.

In Ecclesiastes we read, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:26)