Third Sunday in Advent

O Rising Sun, you are the spendour of eternal light
and the sun of justice.
O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death. (21st December)

As we move closer to Christmas, the Church focuses on these special titles of Jesus. They are a good way to deepen our awareness of who Jesus is and an ideal way to prepare for the Year of the Holy Name of Jesus.

Last week, we looked at how Jesus comes to free us from the darkness of the things that imprison us. However, liberation is only the first step. This week we look at the necessity to come into the light. This is where we actively cooperate with Jesus in coming to freedom.

We have been wounded by the darkness and so, while we long to embrace true freedom, we find it hard to tolerate the light. We see this in the natural way of things; our eyes cannot tolerate the light, when we have been a dark place. Nevertheless, we need to come out into the light so that we can live in freedom, as opposed to stumbling about in darkness. The image of Jesus as the Rising Sun is beautiful – the sun slowly rising and gently getting brighter in a way that we can handle. When we bring our wounds and sins to Jesus, He illuminates them in the same way so we can be free. One of the psalms illustrates this well:

Happy the one whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is remitted.
O happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt.
I kept it secret and my frame was wasted,
I groaned all day long.
Indeed my strength was dried up as by the summer’s heat.
But now I have acknowledged my sins; my guilt I did not hide.
I said: ’I will confess
my offence to the Lord.’
And you Lord have forgiven the guilt of my sin. Psalm 31

This is only an extract from the psalm, but it is clear that we need to be honest in admitting our culpability and confessing our sins. While it can be hard to go to confession, it was when he gave in and confessed, that the psalmist felt relief. This is because when we do this, Jesus takes the burden from us. Advent is a good opportunity to take stock of our lives and Confession can be a liberating part of that process.