3rd Sunday of Advent
The liturgical theme of the Third Sunday of Advent is JOY. The first and second readings invite us to rejoice and exult with all our hearts because God is present in our midst. We should be joyous because the Lord Jesus is coming to bring us salvation.
This invitation of encountering Jesus is for everyone and should be answered daily, as in His first Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis writes: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (No.3).
However, in order to enjoy the fullness of the joyfulness given by God, we must prepare our hearts. The message, that God wants to send to us through John Baptist, is repeated. Many of us still know not what to do. “What can I do?” is the question raised by many people of different classes. Saint John the Baptist gives us the answer by showing us the way of living that helps us to receive God’s mercy (Luke 3:10-15).
Christmas is the season of joy when God meets humanity in the humble stable. Heaven and earth meet in the very Person of Christ. Welcoming the Child Jesus into our lives is receiving heavenly joy. This is seen clearly in the Blessed Virgin Mary who when received the message from the angel Gabriel, sang an exultant hymn (Magnificat) to God, and so in the Shepherds who were delighted to see the Saviour, glorifying and praising God for all what they had heard and seen (Luke 2:20).
May our lives always be filled with the true joy which only comes from God. May our charitable works and services bring joy to the world and enable them to recognize God’s presence in every moment of their life and therefore praise God.