Third Sunday of Advent Reflection


Written by Anne-Louise DePalo

While away at a spa in Pennsylvania last week, I realized that it was the first Saturday of the month, and one of my Advent “resolutions”, for want of a better word, was daily Mass. I happened upon a quaint little church in Honesdale, Pennsylvania and went to the Church of St. Mary Magdalen.. It was the feast day of St. Francis Xavier; one of the greatest missionaries in the Church’s history. He reached souls as far as India and Japan.

During his homily, the priest spoke of St. Francis Xavier’s, “Yes” to God, and how he became a messenger of God’s Word. He spoke of St Francis Xavier and St. Therese (who never left the monastery) as being co-patrons of the missions. St. Francis Xavier physically went out and preached. St. Therese prayed for the missions and established her Little Way, offering love and sacrifice for the missions and the priests that she prayed for.

This idea a messenger was in my thoughts, and I pondered how God uses each of us as messengers. We are called to be messengers of Christ. We are priest, prophet, and king by virtue of our baptism. The definition messenger is a person who carries a message or the bearer of news. Some of the synonyms for messenger is angel, prophet, or heralder.

Later that day, as I was looking at the readings for the third week of Advent, these words rang out in the gospel passage. “This is the one about whom it was written, Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.'” Matthew 11:10.

There it was again: messenger. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. His mother, St. Elizabeth, was a messenger when she declared to Mary; “Blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The angel Gabriel was a messenger sent from God for Mary. The very word angel means messenger. Joseph by his actions was a messenger as to the Incarnation and God’s plan of salvation, and all the prophets from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Amos, Ezekiel, etc. were all messengers.

We are messengers, too. St. Teresa of Avila said we are Christ’s hands, feet, and voice in the world. In the second reading, James speaks of “the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” Chapter 5, Verse 10. He also tells us,”to be patient until the coming of the Lord.” James 5:7.

While we wait, we must be God’s messengers. Take a few minutes and reflect, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I declaring Christ’s first coming and praying for His second coming? Am I a messenger of his love, mercy, and light in the world.
  2. What messages did I send today – what did I text, email, or post on social media – or what did my body language communicate today? Was it building up the Kingdom of God or tearing it down?
  3. Have I been faithful to my baptismal promises – have my “messages” “preached” the Good News.

During Advent, Christmas, and in 2023, let’s all be angels and bring glad tidings to all who cross our paths.