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Year of Clergy and Consecrated Persons2 v3

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REFLECTION

 

Gaudete Sunday 

 

TO BE JOYFUL AND THANKFUL
Third Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

1 Reading:  Isaiah 61:  1-2a, 10-11
Psalm:  My soul rejoices in my God
2 Reading:  1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24
Gospel:  John 1: 6-8, 19-28

In the spirit of profound joy and gratitude to God we gather to celebrate our Eucharist. It is the presence of the Messiah among us, Jesus Christ, that fills our hearts with hope on this day of Advent. 

On this (third Sunday of Advent) Gaudete Sunday, the Church reminds us of the call to rejoice. “Rejoice always,” says Paul in today’s second reading. We are called to have so much hope in our hearts and trust in God that we are able to do this in good or bad times. Paul urges us to nourish the spiritual dimension of our lives and to learn to be more sensitive to God’s presence among us. 

The first reading, and the psalm; which is taken from Mary’s Magnificat prophesy that the poor people and social outcasts have reason to be happy. In fact, God has great compassion for those who are poor: The prisoners He will set free, those who are starving will be fed and the brokenhearted will be healed. The reading from Isaiah is the one Jesus read out when he opened his public ministry, offering “glad tidings to the poor” (Luke 4:18) and proclaiming a time of grace or Jubilee. Mary too, in today’s psalm, places herself in the context of the new and just world that is dawning. 

In the Gospel we sense a feeling of anticipation growing among the people. They were beginning to reform their lives, expecting that at any moment that Christ might be revealed to them. They believed that God was faithful, generous and close to them. They had every reason to rejoice. 

Does this mean we should go about our daily lives with a constant smile on our face? Well, we could smile more often than we do. We could be more willing to focus on our blessings rather than our problems. As Advent progresses and Christmas draws near, we can have a heightened awareness of God’s presence among us and openness to being changed and blessed by it. 

Advent is a time to prepare not only materially but also spiritually for the coming of the Lord. It is a time to step outside our busy lives, our tasks and appointments, and simply recognize God’s loving presence in all humanity and in the natural world. Let’s take time today to look up in the sky and be aware of breathing, taking in the fresh God-given air that keeps us alive. Let’s pay special attention to the gift of family and friends. And as we give thanks for God’s gifts to us, let’s ask ourselves how we can be of service to people who are sick or in trouble, or worried about facing Christmas on a low income. Can we give time to people who may be depressed or who do not have many friends? As Christmas draws near, let’s resolve that this year’s Christmas celebration will be a heartfelt and generous community celebration of divine grace. 

To be always joyful, to pray constantly, to give thanks in all circumstances that is the way to prepare for the coming of the Lord, whether it be his coming in lowliness at Christmas, his coming in power at the end of time, or his coming to us at Mass under the humble form of bread and wine. 

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cbcp 2 diocese paranaquevatican