December 13, 2020 - Third Sunday of Advent
“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
by Sister Joseph Fennimore, OSB
The theme of joy runs through all the readings of the Second Sunday of Advent. This is why it is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice. “Have joy” is what is being said. It might be asked, “How can one have joy in the midst of so much suffering?” The person who has been trying to be faithful looks to God and rises above the difficulties because God’s gift of joy is available. Joy is that delight and happiness that arises in us when we experience the achievement and accomplishment of what we are meant to do or in seeing others achieving growth and completeness.
In the gospel for this Sunday we hear “A man named John was sent from God.” John was to proclaim the presence of Christ among the Jews. He did. He gave his life for this calling and he accomplished it. Imagine his joy when he recognized Jesus the Christ and could point him out to others.
In the Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encourages us to “rejoice always.” Is this possible? It can be. If we are right with God, we can find gladness and joy deep within. This includes being right with others. If our relationship with God and others is real, is growing, joy does well up from our hearts. We are able to breathe out words of hope and thankfulness through the Holy Spirit working within us.
It is the gift of joy and hope that will help us manage our lives so that the difficulties around us, such as Corvid-19, do not strangle us. With God’s help we can find the courage and strength to rise above the effects of this virus and other struggles to find life that will nourish us.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“They are so confident in their expectation of reward from God that they continue joyfully and say, ‘But in all this we overcome because of him who so greatly loved us’.” Chapter 7:39
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Is. 61:1 (Lk 4:18)