Brethren, be Joyful and Happy in the Lord
Readings: 1st: Zep 3:14-18; Ps: Is 12; 2nd: Phil 4:4-7; Gos Lc 3:10-18
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Today is the third Sunday of Advent called “Gaudete Sunday.” The term Gaudate simply means “to rejoice.” This Advent, we are preparing to live a new experience of love and faith in God. Historically, Christ has been born, but he must reside in the heart of each Christian. This season, the church provides us a new opportunity to realize this birth in faith. So, it is a great reason to be happy because we are about to live this experience.
Hence, 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. 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 joyful as we wait for the Lord’s coming. The first reading captures the festive mood of this season and calls us to shout for joy! The reason is simple! Our Lord is coming with lots of good packages like justice, liberation, peace, etcetera. Above all, he is ready to visit us personally if we dispose of ourselves well.
The psalmist equally taps on the exact string: “Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Yes, the one we await never promises and fails. He acquits the innocent and lifts the oppressed. Therefore, this is a time for us to get our demands ready in joyful expectation. It is a time to cast off all moody or gloomy faces, a time to be cheerful, a time to be radiant, 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 essential to carefully note that what Paul says is “BE ALWAYS HAPPY IN THE LORD.” The joy that Paul speaks of here is not the type that comes out of sheer fun. Instead, it is a very profound sentiment that proceeds from a solid faith in God and his promises to us, his children.
This season, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, we have our role to play for our joy to be complete. This role is what John the Baptist spelled out in today’s gospel. We must be charitable, forgiving, caring, just, modest in all our actions, seek reconciliation and peace. We must shun all acts that are capable of making life difficult for others.
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Finally, we need patience and constancy, which are fundamental spiritual virtues. Patience and endurance in the practice of God’s commandments this Advent will lead us very soon to sanctity and the fullness of joy. As we wait joyfully for the fulfillment of Christ’s promises to us this season, may the Almighty God fill our hearts with charity and goodwill. Amen!
Peace be with you.