Move forward with joy...
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (December 15, 2019): IS 35:1-8,10; PS 146:6-7,8-9,9-10; JAS 5:7-10; MT 11:2-11
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
The Entrance Antiphon for this Third Sunday in Advent begins with the phrase “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
And it is from the Latin word Gaudete for “rejoice” that we get another common name for this day. We have come more than halfway though Advent, and it is time to focus even more intently on the joy we will soon know with the Nativity of Christ. And it is also a most appropriate occasion to realize that we are also awaiting His Second Coming. We have an obligation to prepare ourselves for life everlasting by living each day in Christ’s company. “Make your hearts firm because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters about one another, that you may not be judged” (James 5:8-9).
During Advent, our attention is often geared to the more social aspects of the Christmas season. Of course, we want to make plans for family get-togethers and parties with friends, as well as putting up a tree and other decorations, buying presents, sending cards, and on and on. Yet all these things can get in the way of our spiritual lives. Impossible as it seems, we need to find a way to spend even a little extra time in prayer, in reading Scriptures or other religious material each day. More than that, we must think about neighbors in need and consider how we can help. Our church and other community groups can use our assistance to benefit others – children, elderly, the sick and those who are vulnerable in body or spirit. We already know that the weeks of Advent are designed to lead us to the wondrous birth of our Savior and help us contemplate our unique relationship with Him. As long as we remember that December 25th is really a holy day and not just a holiday, we will do the right thing. And, ultimately, we will have a much more joyful Christmas. And so will the people around us.
Suggested missionary action: Let us celebrate Gaudete Sunday by doing something positive to bring joy into the life of someone who could use our attention. Perhaps by visiting, sharing a meal, or doing a chore for that person, we can help them rejoice in our Lord.