Third Sunday of Advent


by Lucinda M. Vardey

If it weren’t a Sunday, December 14th would ordinarily be the feast of Spanish mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross. His spirit, however, seems to be embedded in the scripture for today with the themes of spousal preparation and the richness of a garden.

Many mystics of our Church described their soul’s relationship with Jesus like that of a bride being made ready to unify with the bridegroom.   Jesus himself used similar descriptives. The most common source for such a metaphor is in The Song of Songs where the bride and bridegroom search for each other in the lush plantation of an abundant orchard.

At this time in Advent, in the dark nights of winter, we are asked to ponder the hopeful bringing forth of new life in Jesus which is hidden and waiting in the earth of ourselves.

Isaiah reminds us that what is sown surely does spring up in our relationship with the Lord.   As we “hold fast to what is good” we are, as St. Paul explained, readying ourselves “soul and body” for the coming of the bridegroom’s light.

Just as the Messiah united in the womb of Mary – and John the Baptist recognized his coming by leaping in Elizabeth’s womb – we are all called to prepare the way for Jesus with joyful hearts that do indeed magnify the Lord.