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The Third Sunday of Advent is liturgically called “Gaudete” (meaning “Rejoice”) Sunday (cf s1S#9 Rejoice; 12/10/22; Rose-colored vestments may be worn and rose-colored candle in the Advent Wreath is lit.) The readings today (Is 61:1-2; 10-11; 1 Thes 5:16-24) emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming. Indeed the Lord comes, as testified to by John the Baptist.

He is the great light “that the people who walked in darkness have seen” (Is 9:1).

In the NT, the term phōs ( φῶς ), light (cf s1S#22 Light, 03/14/21) continues the motif of prophet Isaiah about the coming messiah as salvation offered to the Israelites and the nations (Is 9:1; 42:6; 49:6, 51:4, 60:1; cf Mt 4:16; Lk 2:32; Acts 13:47). Here it comes to a supreme focus in the person of Christ. It is now through the person of the Son of God, as “the light of the world” (John 8:12; cf 1:4-5;9;) that people would be drawn into the kingdom of God. The evangelist John, aware of the language and thought of his contemporaries in Palestine of the early 1st century, (to which the Qumran’s Dead Sea Scrolls has affinity, too), portrays Jesus as light, an antithesis to darkness.

Today’s Gospel, part of its prologue, John the Baptist appears in conjunction with the light-darkness theme (vv6-9).

Throughout this gospel, Jesus is presented as the light whose presence some accept while others prefer the darkness. Prominent figures in the gospel, e.g. the Samaritan woman (Jn 4), point to or testify to the light. John the Baptist is one of these. He is “sent” (v6) or missioned, just as Jesus is so that he might give testimony. Early in the gospel he directs his own disciples to Jesus (1:35f). The prologue emphasizes the fact that he himself is not the light (v19).

In this context it signifies that in Jesus one finds light not darkness, righteousness not evil, salvation not damnation and life not death.

Light in the Bible then has a powerful underlying redemptive significance. It is the very person of Jesus, the emissary of God, who is light (1 John 1:5) who calls us “out of darkness” into his marvelous light (1 Pt 2:9), so that we may become truly “children of light”, (Eph 5:8). May we continue to follow Christ, so that in turn, “be light of the world” (Mt 5:14), and one day walk eternally in the light of the heavenly Jerusalem,(Rev 21:23, 22:5).

Amen.

Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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