“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.”
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
It is significant that this year the Third Sunday of Advent, traditionally named Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, falls on the same date as the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Although the Advent Sunday takes precedence over this feast, it is significant that Our Blessed Mother also prompts us to rejoice in the nearness of the birth of her Son, Jesus.
In the first reading for this Sunday, the prophet Zephaniah urges us to be glad in our joyful anticipation of Christmas. Given that so many families have been torn apart with the pandemic, as well as so many immigrants and refugees fleeing war-torn countries, we need to take to heart the encouragement, “Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love.” How can we honor and demonstrate God’s love for our family members and so many suffering in our world today? We need Mary’s help, as did Juan Diego, when he encountered her.
St. Paul calls us to rejoice, in thoughts, words, and hopefully, deeds. Our expressions and deeds of kindness, speak to the nearness of Christ’s coming into our world and into each of our hearts. This is an important reminder for us all during our present time. And, this is a providential reminder, not only for ourselves and others, but also for our mother earth and climate awareness.
In the Gospel, Luke portrays the figure of John the Baptist who also reminds us of the importance of love and compassion for others. In what ways can we be of assistance to those who are needy and poor, not only materially, but also in mind and spirit?
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“First of all, love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.” Chapter 4, Verse 1-2 & 20 (Translation – RB 1980)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. ” Isaiah 61:1