On the Third Sunday of the Advent season, the Church urges us to rejoice in the Lord always! The life of Jesus Christ has transformed and continues to transform the world in His mercy.
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (December 11, 2022): IS 35:1-6,10; PS 146:6-7,8-9,9-10; JAS 5:7-10; MT 11:2-11
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Despite our own troubles and the distress and misery of so many of our neighbors near and far, our faith in Christ provides us with the ultimate hope.
The message that is proclaimed this Gaudete Sunday is both beautiful and demanding: “Rejoice!” That is what we hear at the very beginning of Mass in the Entrance Antiphon. Yet even though we want to feel joy, to be glad of heart, how is it possible to rejoice in the Lord always? We know that God has given us life and love. We are surrounded by His blessings. But we also experience sorrow and pain. The illness or death of a loved one, the loss of our own good health or of our livelihood; there are so many hardships that can make day-to-day lives difficult if not agonizing. Nevertheless, today when we are more that halfway through Advent we are reminded that the coming of our Lord and Savior into the world changed -- and continues to change -- everything. St. Pope John Paul II said that, “In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message. … Rejoice because Jesus has come into the world! Rejoice because Jesus has died upon the cross! Rejoice because He rose from the dead! Rejoice because in baptism He washed away our sins! Rejoice because Jesus has come to set us free! And rejoice because He is the Master of our life!”
Despite our own troubles and the distress and misery of so many of our neighbors near and far, our faith in Christ provides us with the ultimate hope. He stands with us every day, every moment. Even when we cannot feel His presence, He is here. Even when we grow discouraged, He never leaves us. If we hold on to hope in our Lord we will be able to find peace once more, to truly rejoice in time and to contemplate life eternal. The Old Testament reading speaks of the Jewish people in a time of turmoil, war, and exile. Yet they trusted that God would not abandon them, that He was guide them safely home. “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song. … Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee” (Isaiah 35:1-2,6,10). When we feel joy in the Lord, let us thank Him. And when we are having a hard time, let us thank God anyway, and ask Him to help us find joy in His merciful love.