Isaiah talks of the anointed one sent by God to bring glad tidings to the poor. John was sent from God (not “by” – a whole other homily) to testify to the light coming into the world. People from Jerusalem sent priests, Levites, and Pharisees to find out who is this man wearing strange clothes and eating an even stranger diet but nonetheless attracting “people of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem”.
The key word of each of those passages is “sent”. And in each case there is a defined purpose.
The anointed one is “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.” As for John, he is to give testimony that all might believe through him. And, the priests and Levites are to find out exactly who is this man. John began by saying who he is not: not the Christ; not Elijah; and, not the Prophet. Finally John says who he is by quoting from Isaiah. John was true to his mission and vocation, deflecting attention away from himself and focusing of the one who is coming after him.
You and I were anointed at our Baptism; and, most of us again at Confirmation. We are being sent into the world by God to do all of what Isaiah says, each in our own way and time. We, like John, are to testify to the light, Jesus Christ, focusing on what God has done for us with a joy that comes from within, not dependent on the circumstances of our lives which can or cannot leave us happy, but recognizing that joy comes from God our Savior.
That joy was what attracted so many people to the early Church. They wondered in amazement that Christians could be and were joyful even when they were persecuted, ostracized from their families, and were shunned by “good” people in society. What was it that filled them with such joy? And that can be what draws people to faith today.
That leads to a question: How joyful is your faith?
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B, 2017
 Mark 1:5
 Is. 61:1-3
 Is. 61:10
 Lk 1:47
 1 Thessalonians 5:16