Every year, the Third Sunday of Advent focuses on the person of John the Baptist. John is presented as an Old Testament figure, a stern prophet living in the desert announcing the Kingdom of God. John stood with his people, boldly proclaiming the message of the prophets and the need for repentance. John is a person of Advent, someone who is vigilant in watching and preparing for the Messiah and earnestly sharing God‘s message with others.
Around the Third Sunday of Advent each year we also focus on the person of Mary, celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary is also in line with the great women of the Old Testament; like Hannah who praised God for the gift of her son, the future prophet Samuel, like Sarah who miraculously gave birth to Isaac, ensuring the continuation of the line of Abraham, like Mary‘s own kinswoman, Elizabeth who brought to birth John, the precursor to Jesus. Mary stands with us, her children, giving us strength to respond to God‘s Will and praising God‘s work in us. Mary is a person of Advent, earnestly conforming her will to the Will of God and vigilantly preparing for the birth of her son.
These two models, Mary and John, are people of consolation after whom we should pattern our lives. Like John, we acknowledge that there is one savior of the world, and it is not us! What a consolation that is! We accept his challenge to change the things that need to be changed in our lives so that we might truly be the holy people God created us to be. Like Mary, we actively support God‘s growth within us so that we reflect more and more the love of the one who created us.