Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

Santa Claus of the Real Gifts

It is only a fortnight to Christmas, and it is a crazy time of gift buying frenzy. Many are happy that it is going to boost the economy.  Is that the best news of the time?  Behind each gift, there is a giver.  The worth and joy of the gift depends on the giver and the relationship between the giver and the recipient.  The purchased gift may be an electronic toy or some costly and sweet chocolate.  But the price tag of it does not matter any more when it is exchanged.  What matters is the joy and compassion with which it is exchanged. Therefore, what matters is how the parents touch the hearts minds of their children; how much love and compassion is expressed between friends; how you reach out to the needy and the marginalised.  The best of gifts are not distributed through Australia Post or in hampers; they are done from heart to heart.

It is time to rejoice over the real gifts in life.  The greatest of them are freedom, joy, peace, dignity, and hope.  There is a giver behind every gift, and in this case, it is our Father in Heaven.  We want the Father to rule with peace, joy and hope.  John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether he is the real gift giver or should they be looking for someone else.  Jesus’ response was to look around and see for themselves that gifts are being poured around abundantly – the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor (Ref Matthew 11:3).  God has helped us to get over the limitations and enjoy a life with dignity.  He has gifted us with the rule of the Father in Heaven.

As the disciples of Jesus, and in the loving embrace of the Father in Heaven, we are greater than the great prophet, John the Baptist.  Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.” (Matthew 11:11).

Now it is time for us to take from Jesus the role of giving the gift that matters in lives and distribute them ourselves.  Let us excel in reaching out in compassion, touching hearts that are cold and brightening lives that darkened in some way or another.  As children of God we are to be the Santa Claus, not of the material gifts, but of the real gifts from the Father in Heaven.