Rejoice, For The Lord Comes Soon!
Readings: (1st: Ish 35, 1-6; Ps: 145, 6-10; 2nd: James 5, 7-10; Gos: Mtt 11, 2-11)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is Gaudete Sunday. On this third Sunday of Advent, the Holy Mother Church invites us to a brief moment of joy and refreshment. The Church says to us today: “Gaudete in Domino semper” (Rejoice in the Lord always, Phil 4, 4). The term Gaudete simply means, rejoice! The liturgical color for this Sunday is rose. This is a symbol of a joyful mood.
Therefore, Gaudete Sunday is a time in our Journey this Advent when we must brighten up our mood with a smile of joy. Yes, this Sunday we are called to rejoice, because we are getting close to the fulfilment of God’s promise! Gaudete Sunday is a moment of spiritual refreshment in our journey this Advent.
In the first reading of this Sunday, the prophet Isaiah exalts us to be joyful because God himself is coming to save us his people. He says to us: “Courage! Do not be afraid, look your God is coming.” Our God, being a generous God will come with lots of gifts. He is the “real Father Christmas par excellence.” Hence, the prophet gives us an idea of what the Lord will bring and do when he comes: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed…those the Lord has ransomed shall return.”
Most important of all these, is the joy that will accompany the Lord’s coming. Therefore, the joy that fills our heart today is only a foretaste of what we shall experience when the Word is finally made flesh, and the full mystery and glory of God is revealed. So, the strength that we need to complete our journey this season comes from the joy of this wonderful Sunday.
In the second reading, James encourages us: “Be patient brothers until the Lord’s coming…Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon!” In our journey of hope this season, patience is a key word. These two (patience and hope), work together to produce the joy which keeps us moving.
Therefore, as we continue with our preparation for the Lord’s coming, let us ask God to grant us the patience we need for the rest of the journey ahead. We must assure ourselves like an athlete, that we can do it, and that we shall get there. With patience and hope we will definitely meet our Lord Jesus Christ whose coming will bring to us the fullness of joy.
In the gospel of today, Jesus’ work and actions were so amazing that it elicited a joyful response from the people. He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah to the extent that even John the Baptist heard of him from his prison. If we sincerely receive Christ into our lives when he comes, he shall fulfill our expectations by making us see again, walk again in righteousness, hear and pay attention to his words. Therefore, this calls for joy.
So, this Sunday the church gives us the opportunity to have a glimpse of what that joy looks like. Let us therefore rejoice, and be refreshed while being mindful of the rest of the journey ahead of us. The church says to us today, as Nehemiah once said to his people: “Go and enjoy choice food sweet drink…this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8, 10).
Peace be with you!