Be Joyful And Happy In The Lord
Readings: 1st: Sof 3, 14-18; Ps: Is 12; 2nd: Phil 4, 4-7; Gos: Lc 3, 10-18
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 Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent popularly known as “Gaudete Sunday.” The term Gaudete simply means “to rejoice.” This Advent, we are preparing to live a new experience of love and faith in God.
As we come closer to the feast of Christmas, the church encourages us to rejoice because God is about to fulfill his promise to us. However, this does not mean we have come to the end of our preparation this season of Advent.
Instead, it is a way of urging us to be more focused and courageous. It is also a way of assuring us that our preparations shall soon be rewarded. Today, all our readings exalt us to be happy, and joyful as we wait for the Lord’s coming.
The first reading captures the festive mood of this season and so calls us to shout for joy! The reason is simple! Our Lord is coming with lots of good packages like: justice, liberation, and peace. Above all, he is ready to visit us personally if we dispose ourselves well.
The psalmist equally taps on the same string: “Sing and shout for joy, for great in your midst is the Holy one of Israel.” Yes, the one we are waiting for, never promises and fails. He acquits the innocent and lifts up the oppressed. Therefore, this is a time for us to make ourselves ready. It is a time be cheerful and a time to celebrate joyfully.
Paul the apostle understood this very well and so insists: “I want you to be happy always in the Lord. I repeat, what I want is your happiness.” It is very important to note carefully that what Paul says is: “BE ALWAYS HAPPY IN THE LORD.”
So, the joy that Paul speaks of here is not that which comes from mere fantasy or from the material wealth of this world. Rather, it is a very profound sentiment that proceeds from a very strong faith in the God. It is a true joy that sprouts from God’s promises. It is that joy that comes with peace and strengths the soul. It is the joy of our salvation (Ps 51:12), and a gift from God.
In today’s Gospel, after preaching the good news of repentance, John the Baptist provoked a great yearning for change in his listeners. We must ask the same question that the people asked John the Baptist: “What must we do?” This was the same question of the people to Peter after his preaching on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 39-41).
For our joy to be complete this season we must be charitable, forgiving, just, and be modest in our actions. Also, we have to seek reconciliation and live in peace with one another. Above all, we must shun all acts that are capable of making life difficult for others.
Finally, we need patience and constancy in prayer. These are very important spiritual virtues. These will lead us to sanctity and the fullness of joy. As we wait joyfully for the fulfillment of God’s promises to us this season, may He fill our hearts with charity and peace of mind. Amen!
Peace be with you all!