Advent III

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Here is the homily from the St Petroc Monastery for last Sunday:

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT

The signs of Christ’s presence with his Church are shown by the Scriptures set down for the Liturgy today as a continuation of the Truth brought forward in last Sundays’ Scriptures: that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.

John’s question to Christ from prison at first seems puzzling since we know that he has already announced Christ. Why then the question? Was Saint John having doubts? That he was not perfect and did not possess perfect knowledge is not in question. What we see here however is a rhetorical question, asked for the sake of his disciples. While John had received the revelation of Jesus the Christ, there was no outward sign of the magnificent Judge with power inherent to the Jewish expectation of the Messiah. Perhaps he was puzzled by the mercy instead of judgement. Where was the fulfilment of the well-known prophecies? The question given by John to his disciples is designed therefore to allow them to elicit the truth about Jesus for themselves. His time was over, he had gone ahead of the Messiah, it was time to hand over his disciples to that Messiah. These disciples were “family”: They were already in a sense “believers” in that they
followed Saint Jon precisely because he was the Forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus did not answer with a direct claim, or stage a transfiguration for their benefit, but said in effect: “The evidence is all around you, you judge”, having, in their presence done a large number of miracles that might not be expected even of a great prophet.

Here was the healing King, the One who would call us to healed unity of belief in him. We hear that healing call today and it it is a call towards unity of the People of God, those Called Out to believe rightly in God and His Christ. The confusing thing is that there are numerous “uncertain trumpets” calling us towards forms of unity. The only unity can be that which is based on right belief. That is, there can be no compromise of that which is genuinely Apostolic Tradition (including the Holy Scripture). Such unity cannot be in “submission” to any one leader or based on any false or convenient reading of Scripture. The only submission involved in the unity of all Christians is that of all to Christ in the right belief in Him. This would be a true healing, and this is the healing that Christ will require of us if we are to truly be His Called Out people.

This time of Advent, when the Church looks towards the Second Coming of Christ, is a good time to think in terms of the healing of His people here in earth, for it is a vital part of our preparation for His Coming. Not only must we bewail our many-fold individual sins and wickednesses, but we must repent our corporate sins and wickednesses, foremost among which is the diversion from the right belief of so much of Christ’s Kingdom. We desperately need peace on earth
and goodwill among Christ’s people. Not a false peace based on satanic formulae of papered over differences and ingorance of the explicit statements of Scripture, but a right peace and a universal right belief.

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