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Third Sunday of Advent - Cycle B

John 1:6-8, 19-28

“So that all may believe” (John 1:7)

In this week’s readings, I’m struck by the theme of speaking God’s words. Isaiah was anointed by the Spirit and sent to bring good news – a mission that Jesus Himself fulfilled (Luke 4:18). John was also anointed and sent to give testimony, preparing the way so that all may believe in Jesus. 

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he urges the believers to not quench the Spirit nor despise prophetic words. His audience were baptized believers, like us — sons and daughters of God,  anointed by the Holy Spirit, and given the ability and call to hear and speak the Lord’s words as the Spirit prompts. 

What if Isaiah had remained silent? What if John had not spoken? 

Both embraced the personal call the Lord had given them in order to advance his Kingdom. Empowered by the Spirit, they were able to humbly fulfill these calls, not caring what others thought, but focusing on pointing to Jesus. 

In his great and humble love, God has always chosen to work with and through (mere) humans to advance the Kingdom. We each have a personal call on our lives and have received specific gifts of the Spirit. We also carry a common call given to all baptized in the Spirit: the ability to hear and speak God’s words. 

When we speak as the Spirit leads – be it a word of love or hope (glad tidings), letting someone know they are seen (a means for healing), or a word of mercy or deliverance (bringing release) – we are testifying to the presence of Christ in the world today, and helping to soften hearts to receive Him more. 

God’s words may be bold, or they may be gentle and not overtly evangelistic. Regardless, they are ways for people to come to know Him more personally. 

Advent is a time to gratefully reflect on Christ’s first entrance into our world, to purify our hearts to receive Him more fully as He seeks us daily, and to expectantly look towards his second coming. As we do so, may we not neglect, but rather embrace with joy, the important work of speaking his words through the Spirit, to friends and strangers, so that more hearts may be opened to receive Him now, and, eventually, all may believe.


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