Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
December 13, 2020
© t0m15
Third Sunday of Advent
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
John 1:6-8, 19-23
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Our Nation is in the midst of a terrible crisis. The irresponsibility of those who should know better has led us into a situation we could have mitigated with common sense and long-range planning. Unfortunately, many are losing their lives and livelihood because of greed and selfishness. The problem is so dire some think the end of time must be near. Others see it as an opportunity for courage and growth. Old endings are new beginnings. 
John the Baptizer suffered execution because he spoke against the selfish and irresponsible ruling class of his time. Yet, he offered more than a critique. He offered a word of hope in the midst of sorrow and anguish. John boldly spoke of “one who is to come” (John 1: 6-8; 19-23). The boldness of his confrontation became the substance of hope for countless people. John’s testimony confronted the leaders of the government who abused the poor and corrupted the religion. As difficult as it may be, he spoke up without regard for his own well-being. He reminds us of those heroic people who risk health and well-being for the sake of others. John is a powerful example of what disciples of Jesus might very well need to do – speak up when everyone else is silent. nt. Sometimes, disciples of Jesus must be the voice of the voiceless no matter what the cost.
Two of the four Sundays of Advent feature the person, work, and message of the Baptizer. He was, as the Scripture testifies, “a voice crying out in the wilderness.”  “Wilderness” in the Bible signifies chaos and upheaval. It is always a new day when someone speaks up for what is right, good, true, and just.   
Originally, the Advent Season reminded us of the shortness of life. We are to live life in the expectation of the great day of judgment. Such an approach caused many people to fear God, dreading the day of judgment. Never let anyone separate you from the love of God. Now, every day is judgment day. Not a day goes by when we do not have the  opportunity to be of help. We prepare to meet Christ in one another, everywhere, and all the time. 
The Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete” Sunday, meaning joyful. It is always a time to rejoice when we have the opportunity to be of service one to another. This time of pandemic is teaching us how important it is to care for one another. Perhaps, the lessons born of tragedy, will change our lives for the better. We can become closer to one another, more welcoming in our worship places, more patient with our families, more respectful of a stranger, and more grateful for those who serve others.
The First Reading from Isaiah 61 is a lovely summary of what it means to be blessed by God. Jesus will call upon this passage when he teaches at Nazareth (see Luke 4: 16-19). The verses invite us to live life boldly and lovingly: 

The Spirit of God has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor,
liberation to captives,
to announce a year of blessing.

Thank you, Holy Community, for speaking up, for helping out, for being a blessing.