✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Dec 11, 2022: Sunday

“Tapping the ‘river of graces’ in this Season of Advent, and preparing our hearts – meaningfully – to celebrate the ‘major blessings’ of Christmas!”

(Based on Is 35:1-6a, 10, Jas 5:7-10 and Mt 11:2-11 – 3rd Sunday in Advent, Cycle A)

In a particular village, a river was going to be used to generate electricity and to supply water for the people and their crops.

But near the source of the river, was a place called “Valley of the Blind.”
People who lived around this valley had trouble with their eyes – most of them were either blind or had some eye defect.

This trouble was caused by a particular species of flies, which lived in the shrubs along the river source.
… When a fly bit someone, it would inject a certain parasite into the blood, which would render the eyesight of the person to be severely affected.

On hearing that the people of the village had decided to tap the river for several uses, including electricity and supply of water, an elderly village man – who had lived his entire life in this village…
… called together the concerned authorities and developers.

He told them: “I am happy to hear that you are wanting to make progress, by using the river effectively.

But my children, remember…
… before you undertake any works of development, please make sure that you do something to get rid of the fly in the ‘Valley of the Blind!’

If not, your minor oversight may cause a major disaster!”

The wisdom of the old man reminded the people: Minor oversights can cause major disasters!

The Gospel of the Day is a bold reminder to make a thorough examination of our conscience…
… and check, if I am allowing “minor oversights” to cause “major disasters” in my lives!

We are on the third Sunday of the Season of Advent.

This is called the “Gaudete Sunday” – the Sunday of Joy
(‘Gaudete’ in Latin is joy!)

We are nearly halfway through the season in preparation for Christ. Sometimes, like runners, in a marathon…
… we may feel fatigued and drained
… or we may think, when are we going to reach the destination

And so we may get lethargic… listless… or feel exhausted.

But the Church – our caring Mother – knows Her children, and tells: “Just a few more days… and it will be Christmas!

Do not give up hope.
Instead, continue to prepare – with joy and expectancy”

Thus, on this Third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday.

The Gospel reading on this Gaudete Sunday begins with John the Baptist – who is in prison –
… sending his disciples to Jesus and asking: “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt 11:3)

Last Sunday, we saw John the Baptist, “in a preaching mode” – in the wilderness (Cf. Mt 3:1-12)

Today, he is in the “prison zone” – in captivity!

Here is an important lesson that John the Baptist teaches us:
… There will be times when you are in the limelight – preaching powerfully and being acknowledged with great power and might
… But there would also come times when you are banished to isolation – with only the four walls of loneliness for company!

In all such moments – in the ‘glory of the wilderness’ and the ‘isolation of the prison’…
… Can we still remain faithful and loyal to God’s Will?
… Can we still realise that God is pleased with my fidelity more than my performances?
… Can we still be zealous for the ways of God, knowing that He will turn everything for our good?

At the same time, the Gospel reading (Mt 11:2-11) powerfully reminds us: Do we have an “oversight – missing the point” of the ways of God, and do we thus remain stuck in our own attitudes and thought patterns?

Speaking of Himself, Jesus says: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their
sight, and the lame walk… “(Cf. Mt 11:4-5)
Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus says: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed
shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? “(Cf. Mt 11:7-10)

Here were two cases of “oversights – missing the point”

  1. John the Baptist had the understanding…
    … that Jesus would be coming with fiery judgements and would be the Messiah Who would deal with the people, with blazing power and scorching verdicts

But this turned out to be an “oversight – missing the point” as Jesus showed Himself as the Messiah Who would heal, teach and bring the Mercy of God!

  1. The people had the understanding…
    … that John the Baptist would be finely dressed and a people- friendly prophet – one who would be willing to “adjust” the norms of God to their lifestyle

But this turned out to be an “oversight – missing the point” as John the Baptist turned out to be a prophet “who disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed.”

In both cases, there was an “oversight – missing the point”…
Jesus was unwilling to let John the Baptist and the people remain under the cloud of these “oversights”…

And so He presents the facts before them…
… to avoid any future “major disasters!”

The same examination is put forth before us, by the Lord: to check minor oversights. Do we allow…
… “minor sins” – in the form of evil tendencies – to grow in us?
… “minor negligence” to develop into habitual practices?
… “minor indifferences” to take root in our relationships?

This Gaudete Sunday is an invitation to help us experience the joy of the Lord, by making us realise…

If these “minor oversights” are not corrected…
… then they would soon turn into “major disasters!”
And we would get afflicted by the “Valley of the Blind!”

Let us give heed to the strong reminder given by the Gospel, and amend our “minor oversights”…
… so that we can tap the “river of graces” in this Season of Advent, and prepare our hearts – meaningfully – to celebrate the “major blessings” of Christmas!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Many sins wrong our neighbour.
One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries).
Simple justice requires as much.
But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbour.
Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused.
Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins.

This satisfaction is also called “penance.” (CCC #1459)

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