Third Sunday of Advent

Living for the gospel is a source of joy

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels.  Is 61,1-2.10

During the construction of the cathedral of Reims, three stone masons were employed to square the stones: two of them were working being sad and bored, while the third one was happy and smiling. A gentleman who was passing by saw the diversity of their states of mind in doing the same job and addressed to all three the same question: “What are you doing?”. One of the first two said: “squaring stones” and the second: “I earn my salary”. Only the third, the one happy, replied: “I build a cathedral”. The source of the joy, in fact, lies in the greatness of the project to which we are committed during our earthly days. You cannot be happy if you work just to earn your daily bread or to achieve a certain degree of prosperity. The human spirit is an offshoot of the divine spirit and, as such, it needs to operate on the great plan of God. Such mandate, regardless of how it is expressed in the commitment of every day, proposes the three objectives which the man has received from the Lord. The first is to start a family, to procreate and raise some children: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply’ “ (Gn 1,27-28). The second is the objective of cooperating to the creative act of God, by cultivating and preserving the nature, which has been entrusted to the man to make it a resource to live and to transform it by adaptation  to the changing needs of the times: “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gn 2,15). The third, of a more priestly type, is constituted by the commitment to continuously bring back to the divine plan those who are lost in small projects. The latter objective, which in the New Testament is the command of Jesus to “proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16,15), in the prophet Isaiah, more than four hundred years before, has been already clearly outlined. The joy of the today passage comes from the awareness of working for this great project: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me, sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners…I will greatly rejoice in the Lord”. We, too, to live in joy, must ask the Lord to send us to bring the good new of the salvation to the men. What he will not fail to do because he is eternally in search of laborers for his vineyard.

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