Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | Psalm 126 | John 1:6-8, 19-28 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Advent Meditation by Diana Trevino Benet
The Bible readings for today reflect our current mixed feelings: even as we continue to suffer from the ill effects of the virus, we anticipate the happy changes the vaccine will bring and affirm our reliance on the Lord.
The passages from the Old Testament emphasize hope and look forward to, or celebrate, the restoration of good fortune: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy,” we are promised in the appointed Psalm. Isaiah declares that “my God . . . has robed me in deliverance and arrayed me in victory.” But looking forward does not deny the earlier adversity, the “broken-hearted” or the mourners who need divine comfort. To the emphasis on hope, the readings from the New Testament add expectation, with John deflecting attention from himself to “the one who is to come after me” even as he refers to the world he inhabits as “the wilderness.” Paul urges the Thessalonians to do their part, to “pray continually [and] give thanks whatever happens”; to “keep hold of what is good and avoid all forms of evil.” Finally, he prays that the Lord will “keep you holy . . . and keep you sound in spirit, soul, and body.”