Third Sunday in Advent: Lighting the Shepherds Candle

Posted by Martin Gutierrez | December 17, 2017

John the Baptist was a messenger of God. John proclaimed a message of repentance in order for sins to be forgiven. People believed what he proclaimed. They repented of their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River. His message didn’t stop there. John assured that one mightier than he was coming after him and that he would baptize with the Holy Spirit instead of just with water. This is the good news of the Gospel.

Martin Lights the Shepherds Candle

Martin Gutierrez lights the third candle on the Advent wreath, the Shepherds Candle.

Do I have the courage, the conviction, and the faith that John demonstrated? Our times are not much different than the times of John the Baptist. We must proclaim a message of repentance and of love. However, it seems that we all need a reminder of what sin is.  It seems that society has blurred our vision making it possible for us not to see the reality of sin. Sin leads us astray from God; it is an offense against him. Sin makes our hearts turn away from God. Just like the people who listened to John, who recognized the areas of their lives that needed to be transformed, we must do the same. Let’s pray that God will grant us the wisdom to recognize what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. 

During Advent we await the coming of the Lord. Too many of us seem to be searching for Christ without realizing that Christ is not far from us. He might just be waiting at the next crossroad hoping that we leave behind the twisted roads and take the straight paths that lead to him. We don’t have to wait for Lent to do an assessment of our lives to determine what areas are being impacted by sin and take the steps necessary to be reconciled with God. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a special gift that Christ gives to us through the Church. Through this sacrament our sins are forgiven, and we are granted special graces to help us with the battle against evil and the strength to be like John the Baptist, messengers of God. Advent offers an opportunity for us to reflect on our brokenness and open ourselves spiritually so we can be prepared to receive God’s mercy, and celebrate with joy the birth of the Lord while proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. 

Martin Gutierrez is the Division Director over Immigration & Refugee Services, Education Services, Housing & Homelessness, Deaf Action Center and Domestic Violence Legal Services.