Jesus, the Glad-Tidings Provider

by Edmond Lo

Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1-2A, 10-11

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels. As the earth brings forth its plants, and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Brothers and sisters:

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.

John 1:6-8, 19-28

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus, the Glad-Tidings Provider
Edmond Lo


“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners…” (Is. 61:1).

Back in my university days when I didn’t find myself particularly attached to the Bible, I still found Isaiah’s prophetic passage above very powerful every time I heard it proclaimed. When recited by Luke in his gospel within the setting of Jesus standing in a synagogue, slowly unrolling a scroll of Isaiah, and reading it out to an enchanted and expectant congregation on Sabbath, the prophetic passage took on a new meaning of fulfilment (c.f. Luke 4:16-21) - fulfilled not only in the very person who read it, i.e. Jesus, the Anointed One, but also in me, the listener, personally.

I, a foreign student struggling to make ends meet, was the poor; not only because of corporeal deprivation but also because of spiritual destitution. I was the brokenhearted, not only because my life then was filled with hardships but also because the deepest yearnings of my young heart – for love and dignity, for justice and righteousness, for the truth – somehow just could not be satisfied. I was the captive, captive of so many unrealistic dreams, captive of my own youthful passions. I was the prisoner, chained hands and feet by sin, incarcerated body and soul by the unrelenting grip of death. I was in dire need of the Anointed One’s glad tidings, healing, liberation, and freedom.

When my university chaplain, a young and exceedingly kind Basilian priest whose mission it was to help the lowly and marginalized, told me that in Jesus I could find my glad-tidings Provider, my Healer, my Liberator, and my Freedom, I dived right into his RCIA to find out whether Jesus was really the Savior who could solve all my personal problems. Finally at the Easter of my third year of university, I was baptized into the Catholic Church. Here I am 37 years later, I can honestly say that Jesus has given me everything Isaiah promised and more. There is not a day my heart doesn’t rejoice together with Mary, his mother, in the Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

Yet our journey of faith is a long one, full of ups and downs and potential pitfalls. Like John the Baptist in the gospel reading, we must properly discern the role that God sends each one of us to do. John identified his role as “the voice of one crying out in the desert”; he saw himself as the precursor that “make straight the way of the Lord’” (John 1:23). He was determined to serve the Lord in this humble capacity even though many of his followers wanted to make him the Messiah. In this Advent, let us discern with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit what our role is. What is the ministry that God wants us to serve? And in serving it, “may the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you…be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes 5:23).

Spiritual Talk
Fr. Anthony Ho
On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, Fr. Anthony Ho explains to us the significance of joy to Christians everywhere. We must be as St. Paul the Apostle exhorts us: to be joyful always and pray constantly, to pass God's love to those around us. Through various sacrifices and the Sacrament of Confession, we can remove ourselves from sin, walking towards God with the hope Christ gave us.
Listen >