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 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 at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: 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 also be born 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 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, peace, etcetera. 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 await never promises and fails. He acquits the innocent and lifts up the oppressed. This therefore, 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 very important to note carefully 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 mere fun. Rather, it is a very profound sentiment that proceeds from a very strong faith in the God and from his promises to us his children.
This season, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, for our joy to be complete, we have our own role to play. This role is what John the Baptist spelt out in today’s gospel. For our joy to be complete this season 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.
Finally, we need patience and constancy which are very important spiritual virtues. Patience and constancy 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.