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Sunday, December 16, 2001

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Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
James 5:7-10
Psalm 146
Matthew 11:2-11

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rejection at christmas?

"Are you 'He Who is to come' or do we look for another?" —Matthew 11:3

For almost two thousand years, billions of people have asked Jesus whether He was the Messiah, the Meaning of life, and the Lord. Many have found Jesus a Stumbling-Block (Mt 11:6) and a Sign of contradiction (Lk 2:34). Many have rejected Jesus. On the day of His birth, Jesus was rejected and was forced to be born in a stable (Lk 2:7). On the day of His death, He was rejected violently. The crowd yelled: "Crucify Him," and Jesus was nailed to a cross in the ultimate expression of rejection (Mk 15:14).

It is so easy to reject Jesus. We reject Jesus:

  • if we sin, disobey, or are unfaithful,
  • if we choose to nauseate Him by a lukewarm, minimalistic, mediocre aberration of Christianity (Rv 3:16),
  • if we reject the Church, for Jesus said of the first leaders of the Church: "He who hears you, hears Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me" (Lk 10:16),
  • if we reject the poor, for Jesus taught: "I assure you, as often as you neglected to do it to one of these least ones, you neglected to do it to Me" (Mt 25:45), and
  • by giving Jesus the "silent treatment," that is, by not publicly acknowledging that He is our Lord (see Mt 10:33; Rm 10:9).

At the first Christmas, our Lord Jesus came to His own, "yet His own did not accept Him" (Jn 1:11). May this Christmas be different. Refuse to reject the Holy One Who has refused to reject anyone (Jn 6:37). Accept Jesus on His terms as Lord, Savior, and God.

Prayer:  Father, on this Gaudete ("Rejoice") Sunday, fill me with an inexpressible joy (1 Pt 1:8).

Promise:  "Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy." —Is 35:10

Praise:  For many years, Joan rejected Jesus by being ashamed to hang His picture in her house. She now has many pictures of Jesus in her home. All praise to Jesus, the Changer of our hearts!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, May 30, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2001