3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
This Third Sunday of Advent is known as GAUDETE Sunday, meaning ‘rejoice’. This is to remind us, that there should be a joyful aspect of Advent as we prepare for the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In our readings and prayers today, the word ‘joy’ and ‘rejoice’ appeared 12 times. This should convey clearly to us that we are blessed. Why? Because ‘God is visiting his people!’
When a special person – guest or visitor, is going to call to see us, we are delighted, excited and prepare to welcome that visitor. If that is the case in our social calendar, how much more special should our preparations be for the coming of Jesus to us. He is taking on a human form, just like one of us. We know it, we have celebrated the birth of Jesus many times before, but we must approach this Christmas as if it were our first!
As Cardinal Vincent said in his Advent message –“The coming of our God, our thoughts must now employ”. That means that we focus, concentrate and reflect on this great truth: God becoming one of us, so that we can reflect God. We do that in joy and jubilation, because a special guest is coming to visit us. We are so blessed and privileged as human beings. God shows how much he appreciates our humanity, that he sent his Son like one of us. We are so special in God’s eyes. Why? Will we ever understand the love God has for each one of us?
Are the words of the Psalm today for real? “He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will DANCE with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival”.
Do you really believe that God could dance with joy over you? Sometimes we may even find it hard to believe that God cares about or for us – he does care and not only that, he is dancing for joy!!
Notice that the prophet Zephaniah, Paul and John the Baptist all believed that ‘the Lord was very near’. This is their source of Joy. St Paul repeats: “I want you to be happy … there is no need to worry”, because God is visiting his people.
John the Baptist is causing a real stir. Even with his wild appearance, people flock to see and hear him. And what’s more, they respond to his words. The people asked John, what must we do? They were told to cloth the naked and give food to the hungry. The tax collectors and soldiers asked in turn – what must we do? They were not to use extortion or intimidation in their dealings with people.
We too need to ask: “What must we do?” We already know the answers! We should live by the Beatitudes – work for peace and reconciliation; hunger and thirst for what is right; be humble before our God; be merciful and we will have mercy shown us and lots more when we reflect on what Jesus has told us.
Have a pleasant week. God bless, Fr Joe