CN_3_MV_C-E3 Sunday of Advent, Year C

Zep 3:14-18; Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-14

Introduction: This is a homily in a book, titled: ‘Every Week God Speaks We Respond’ Cycle C, intended to be published in the future by Reverend John Tran Binh Trong. It was published in Vietnamese in the US 2009 and republished in Viet Nam 2012. To keep the author’s writing style, this homily has not been edited and may not be by a hired hand.

However, if readers like to point out mistake(s) in spelling and grammar, it would be greatly appreciated by the author whose English is not his mother tongue and who did not live in the US until his adulthood. Passive sentences are used intentionally in this context to avoid using the first personal pronoun ‘I’ when applicable, that might be associated with any idea of egotism, in accord with the French saying, known as: 'Le moi est haissable' (The ego is detestable).

 The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is in the imperative mood of a Latin verb gaudere in the present infinitive, meaning rejoice on the rejoicing Sunday. Today the church uses scripture passages with words of encouragement, telling us to rejoice, for the day of salvation is near. On this Sunday, priests may wear purple vestments or rose vestments when celebrating mass. We also see the rose-colored candle of the advent wreath is lit. The color of rose stands for joy in anticipation of the coming of the Lord

 People can experience joy and happiness on different occasions and events. Joy and happiness can be found in good health, success in study and work, advancement in career, reunion with a loved one after a long time of absence. Joy can also be found on the spiritual level. The reason for Christian joy is Christ has come to save and reconcile humankind with God.

 There are those, who think Christianity is a religion of sadness, emphasizing self-denial, abstinence, sacrifices and restrictions. To view as such is a one-sided view, correct only in one aspect. As long as we are still in this world, we cannot avoid sorrow, because our life on earth is a mixture of joy and sorrow. Anyway, the word joy or rejoice was mentioned 360 [1] times in the bible, while the word sorrow occurred only 33 [2] times. Therefore, Christianity is a religion of joy. The Christian joy does not mean there is an absence of sorrow and sadness. This kind of joy is not necessarily a pleasure, but an inner joy, contentment.

 The prophet Zephaniah today tells the people who, are being exiled, to rejoice because the Lord will be coming soon to bring salvation: Shout for joy, O daughter Sion! Sing joyfully, O Israel. Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem (Zep 3:14)! In his letter to the Philippians, St Paul, despite in prison, had less reason to rejoice, yet encouraged them: Rejoice in the Lord, always. I shall say it again: rejoice! (Pl 4:4). The reason Saint Paul told them to rejoice in the Lord for God is the source and motive of all joy.

 In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist told people how to prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord. When the crowds asked John what should be done to prepare for the coming of the Lord, John told them to share their clothing and food with the needy (Lk 3:11). Among those who came for John’s baptism were tax collectors. When tax collectors asked John what to do, John did not tell them to quit their tax collection job, even though, they, collected taxes for the Roman government. For that reason, they were looked down by the people especially when they collected high taxes. John told them not to collect more than what was prescribed (v.13). Soldiers also asked John what they would have to do. Soldiers here were not soldiers of the Roman army, neither soldiers of King Herod. They were soldiers to collect taxes for the Temple. To respond to their question, John told them to be honest, just and to be satisfied with their pay (v. 14).

 So the lesson John the Baptist teaches us today to prepare for the coming of the Lord is to be fair and honest, and then to share food and clothing, and not to be selfish. The second lesson John teaches us today is a realization of our identity before God. When people asked John if he were the Christ, he confirmed his position only as a precursor for the coming of the Lord. He admitted that he baptized only with water, and somebody else mightier than he, would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Lk 3:16).

 What we can learn from John the Baptist is self-acceptance. Not being satisfied with what one has in one circumstance or wanting to have more in another circumstance without being able to get it, would make one unhappy. From that state of mind of unhappiness, problems might arise for individuals and society. Therefore, we must learn to accept ourselves, to accept what we have, to accept our limitations and our standing before God, not to attribute to ourselves what we are not or what we do not have. Self-acceptance does not mean that we should not improve ourselves or we should bear suffering and loss at the expense of ourselves. When we are not satisfied with ourselves and with what we have; when we are always wanting more; when our hearts are still restless, we cannot experience peace and joy in our hearts in order to welcome the Lord.

 Prayer for self-acceptance:

 Oh our Redeemer.

You are about to be born as man.

To prepare for your coming,

John the Baptist showed us the way

to experience joy by self-acceptance.

Help me to accept what I have

so that my mind may be settled

to welcome your birthday. Amen.



[1]. Liturgical Commission. Homilies Sunday and Weekday masses. Oct. – Dec. 1977, p. 345. Diocese of Lansing.

[2]. Ibid.

Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm A đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ cuối cột 1 ___________________

Every Week God Speaks – We Respond, Cycle A was published Online in the US. The introduction of the book is recorded at “Sách của Tác giả Chủ trương, Column 1.

Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm B đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ cuối cột 1

  Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm C đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ, cuối cột 1.


 Năm Mục Vụ Giới Trẻ 2021.  HĐGM ấn định một chương trình Mục vụ Giới trẻ 3 năm với các chủ đề tương ứng: Năm 2020: Đồng hành với người trẻ hướng tới sự trưởng thành toàn diện.

Năm 2021: Đồng hành với người trẻ trong đời sống gia đình. Để hiểu ý nghĩa và thực hành, xin nhấn vào đường dẫn này:

Năm 2022: Đồng hành với người trẻ trong đời sống Giáo hội và xã hội.


Năm Thánh Giu-se: Nhân kỷ niệm 150 năm Đức Giáo hoàng Pio IX chọn thánh Giuse làm Đấng Bảo Trợ Giáo Hội Công Giáo, Đức Phanxicô đã ban hành Tông thư “Patris corde” – Trái tim của người Cha – và công bố “Năm đặc biệt về thánh Giuse” từ ngày 8/12/2020 đến ngày 8/12/2021. Để biết thêm ý nghĩa và áp dụng vào hoàn cảnh VN, xin nhấn vào đường dẫn này:


Năm “Gia đình Amoris Laetitia” 2021 về “Vẻ đẹp và niềm vui của tình yêu gia đình” do Bộ Giáo Dân, Gia Đình và Sự Sống tổ chức, được Đức Phanxicô khai mạc dịp Lễ Thánh Giuse 19/ 3/ 2021 và bế mạc ngày 26/6/2022 trong dịp Hội Ngộ Thế Giới các Gia Đình lần thứ 10 diễn ra tại Roma. Để biết thêm ý nghĩa và áp dụng, xin nhấn vào đường dẫn này:


Hình ảnh giải trí.


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