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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent Year C (Gaudete Sunday - December 13, 2015)

 Theme: Rejoice, The Lord is Near

Traditionally, the third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday. The Latin name Gaudete, which means rejoice is taken from the first word of the entrance antiphon of the Mass which is: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near” (Phil. 4:4-5). On this day, the Holy Mother Church invites her children all over the world to rejoice because our Lord is near. The first reading (Zephaniah 3:14-18) makes this invitation clear when it invites Zion to shout for joy and Israel to sing joyfully for the Lord is in their midst. His presence calls for courage and joy among His people. John the Baptist in his preaching also proclaimed the message of God’s nearness to His people when he admonished them to repent and believe in the Good News for the kingdom of God is close at hand (cf. Mark 1:15).

Every expectant mother who knows that her time of delivery is at hand rejoices. She does not only rejoice, but also makes earnest preparations to receive the new child. Likewise, John’s first audience on hearing the Good News of God’s nearness to them inquired from John how they would prepare for his coming. As the gospel reading (Luke 3:10-18) records, the people touched by John’s words asked him: “What must we do, then?” Specifically, to the crowd, he asked them to love (to share what they have with those who lack), he asked the tax collectors to be just (to collect only what is due) and to the soldiers he asked to be contented with their wages (no intimidation or extortion). John’s reply, emphasizes the virtues of love, justice and contentment. 

Beloved friends, today the Church is also calling on us like John did last Sunday to prepare the way for the Lord whose coming is close at hand. To prepare well to receive Him in our hearts, we can practice the virtues of love, justice and contentment. God is love and those who live in love live in God (1 John 4:7). This is a call to love others as God loves us especially this Christmas season. Let us reach out to the poor and helpless and show them love. When we love, then we can be just. We ought to be just in all our affairs this season and beyond. It is an opportunity to visit our aged parents at home, to give people their due and to pay off the debts we owe among others.

Besides, being just in our dealings with others, we can then be contented with what we have. Many seek to get more of those things they lack within the short period of Christmas and neglect the whole of what they have. Our happiness within this season will not come by worrying over or even getting what we do not have but by being contented with the little we have for all we have come from God. That is why we should celebrate Christmas with joy and happiness for God gives us what is necessary for our existence.

For this reason, St. Paul in the second reading (Philippians 4:4-7) urges us to remain happy and not to worry for the Lord is near. We ought not to worry for the things we do not have, especially for those things greatly required to make us happy during this season and beyond. Instead, St. Paul asks us to ask God for them with prayer and thanksgiving. He will surely provide for us.

Therefore beloved brethren, what is it that is making you worried? Why are you in fears? Why are you panicking? What is stealing your joy away? Perhaps you think you can’t meet up this Christmas? Do not worry, ask God for whatever you need in prayer and if it is His will, you will surely get it. He is near to deliver us from all fears and hopelessness. But do not forget that because He is near, we should be ready to welcome Him in our hearts this Christmas and beyond by repenting from our sins and believing in the gospel. God loves you.

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