Selection of the sermons of Father Ezekiel Oko

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Sermon for 3rd Sunday of Advent in the reading year: B

We are messengers of joy and witnesses of light

Today, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, also called Gaudete Sunday, we are called to rejoice. Yes, the 3rd Sunday of Advent is always associated with the message of joy that should radiate in us and through us. Isaiah proclaims this message in the first reading and the apostle Paul repeats it in the second reading.

It's about the joy we experience when the Spirit of God rests on us and we listen to Him. The joy that we should also convey to others if we have it within us.

In the second reading, Paul takes us a little further in this teaching. “Rejoice at all times!” he calls to us. But what do we do to experience this joy and keep it within us? We are not to extinguish the spirit. We should pray without ceasing. We should give thanks for everything. We should examine everything, but only keep the good things, says Paul.

Here he gives us the logic and mathematics of joy: not to extinguish the spirit, to pray without ceasing, to give thanks for everything and to keep the good. These are small attitudes to life that can certainly put us on the path to joy every day.

Dear sisters and brothers, it is the Spirit of God who reminds us of everything God has done for us and what He is still doing in our lives! He moves us. If we don't eradicate Him, we will definitely find reasons to be thankful for.

This Spirit of God also leads us to a life of prayer: a life that sees God's hand and work in all situations of our lives; a life that sees the hand of God beyond the frustrating experience of powerlessness in sometimes almost hopeless situations; a life in which there is hope that God will work everything for the good.

Anyone who lives like this will see the good in everything and give thanks for everything.

There are little things that often take away the joy of life, but we can avoid them through small daily actions. Often we only focus our attention on everything that is not yet working well in our lives. Then we complain about it and overlook the many opportunities to find joy again.

We often focus on the little mistakes we see in others and forget everything else that they do well and right. This also takes away our inner joy and blocks good relationships with others. These are just examples.

Dear sisters and brothers, we can prevent these "destroyers of joy" by taking Paul's four recommendations seriously. You will feel this joy if you take just a small step in this direction today: answer the questions: “What am I grateful for today?” and “What good is hidden in this or that experience?”; Thinking about it could be a small key to inner joy.

Albert Einstein once said: “There are only two ways in which you can live your life: either to live as if nothing were a miracle, or to live as if everything were a miracle.” I am convinced that , whoever lives in the latter way will always be grateful for everything and rejoice in his life. Another thing is that we discover the good in everything and keep it when the Spirit of God rests on us and moves us.

Isaiah rejoices with all his heart. He declares: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. For the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and release to those in chains, to proclaim a year of the Lord’s favor.”

As a witness to joy, he not only wanted himself to experience the joy, but also to act as a messenger of that joy. He encourages us to feel this joy by focusing our attention on the Lord's work within us. John the Baptist announces himself as a messenger and witness of the light. He shows the world the hidden Lord, the light that will brighten the darkened world and warm the cold heart.

Dear sisters and brothers, like Isaiah and John the Baptist, we too are called to bear witness to the Lord in the world. We are called to be messengers and witnesses of the light. We are called to show the world that Jesus is here. Let us meet him and feel his joy within us and let his light shine!

Gospel of 3rd Sunday of Advent in the reading year B;

The Baptist's testimony

John 1:6-8, 19-28

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight[8] the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)

25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,

27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.