Dear Believers in the Mystery of Christ,
This Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday,” which means “Rejoicing.” We are now more than half way to Christmas. Notice the pink candle is lit on the Advent wreath. Half way to the celebration of the Incarnation helps us to rejoice in the fact that God is already here, but not yet. God is working in our midst, yet we wait for the fullness of his presence in heaven. God has been born among us, yet we wait for his return. In these great moments of paradox, we rejoice in the beauty of God’s eternal actions within our lives.
The second reading during Mass today is 1Thesolonians 5:16-24. This text proclaims, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Do not quench the Spirit.” Our sense of rejoicing is a call to action and prayer. We are invited to fall in love with God ever more in the Advent season. This love is not naïve or without a lot of work. We fall in love with God in our relationship with Divine hope for our world. This means that we examine deeply our need for God’s action, for healing and hope, for integrity and justice, for a real relationship with the Holy Spirit that is far deeper than just living out the rules of religion and calling it God.
We are to model our lives of prayer for our children and for people who do not believe in God. Our prayer is to become a beacon of hope for our world, for outcasts and refugees, for people living outside and people who cannot speak up for themselves, for people lost in despair. Our prayer is to be a light in the darkness, kindness in the midst of oppression, healing when the world is exhausted from its own efforts. Most importantly, our prayer is to lead us into beauty and awe.
People will be drawn to us when we live out such a prayer. Beauty itself is contagious; it is a source of wonder for the world. This prayer leads us into living a life of rejoicing and a new reliance on the Holy Spirit. Let us make sure we discover such beauty during these Advent days of searching and longing, days of hope and relying ever new on God’s wondrous presence and healing for our world.
This past year weighs heavily upon us with natural disasters and mass shootings. These are burdens heavy on our hearts this Advent season. These texts call us to become people of hope and steady prayer, allowing God to use us for good and to help us witness to the beauty of life. We pray that our lives may find rejoicing in God and that our families may not resist the hope God is pouring out to us in our daily lives.
Let’s us follow the example of John the Baptist, who pointed his life, his soul and his purpose into the direction of the coming of Christ Jesus. We rest in the beauty of Jesus manifest in our hearts.