Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Phil. 4:4-7; Luke 3: 10-18
The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (Sunday of Joy) because two of the readings focus on joy. Joy- a word which we do not hear mentioned much in our frantic world and when it is casually dropped in small talk the speaker usually equates it with frivolity or giddiness. If that is ‘joy’ how can we afford it in our very serious 2018?
Joy is the opposite of a mindless search for amusements or a selfish lack of concern for the world. Rather, joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit that allows us to face the harsh realities of the world, others and our inner selves with a lightness borne of a deep-rooted trust in God’s Providence and Mercy. Joy adds depth to life as we realize the importance of everything but that such a recognition does not make us anxious but filled with appreciation. We see that serving God is not just a matter of devotions but doing what we do out of love and a recognition of God’s constant presence with us. In this way we are helping prepare the way of the Lord even in small ways: taking care of screaming children, nursing an elder parent, listening to a suffering friend, sharing with the poor or even doing our work honestly. These tasks may be difficult, tedious and painful but in doing them we learn of Love beyond the narrow confines of Self. It is in small ways that we can help the world, others and ourselves to see reality with love from the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for the gift of joy in the midst of constant ‘fear-mongering’.
During this Advent Season please pray for the Mission Doctors whose joy and trust in the Lord has led them to service. Share in their mission by monetary donation if you can. God bless and Blessed Advent.