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Advent, a time of Rejoicing!

Third Sunday of Advent
December 13, 2020
Gaudete Sunday

Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11;  1 Thessalonians 5:16-24;  John 1:6-8, 19-28

From the entrance antiphon, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice”, to the opening prayer, to the readings, to the festive pink candle and vestments, we find the joy of this season creeping in. This is what hope feels like.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me; and sent me to bring glad tidings. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and do not quench the Spirit. I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord”.

These three statements are taken from each of the three readings for this Sunday. I invite all of you to take a moment and personalize these lines as you read them. For example, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Frances because the Lord has anointed Frances and sent Frances to bring glad tidings to the poor, the broken, the voiceless and so many others. Personalize each sentence and ponder the impact of the Word on you. This is what hope looks like!

The Advent season calls us to alertness! To realize that if hope is to be birthed anew, we are the ones giving birth to it! If the people of God are to experience joy during this season no matter how dire things might be, we are the ones providing that joy. If the darkness in people’s lives is to turn to light, we are the light. During Advent, we are that voice that cries out with good news. We are the messengers of hope, love, compassion for the world! There is much cause for rejoicing.

“We are God’s children now”, scripture tells us. Last week we heard that we are equipped with every spiritual gift needed to fulfill God’s mission. We anticipate the miracle of Christmas and we rejoice today because we know deep down that we have been blessed and equipped to give birth anew each year. The Spirit within us is ablaze and ready to assist us with the birthing process! We can birth peace, compassion, love and unity. We are equipped to bring glad tidings to those most in need. As Teresa of Avila reminds us, We are God’s hands, God’s voice, God’s smile!

Pope Francis tells us, “Our hope is that humanity turns its gaze to God, changes, where we become more generous people and return to a simpler or truer life”. Let this be our hope as well. Let us pray without ceasing that humanity turns its gaze to God. May we birth anew the simplicity that we see in so many of the expressions of the infant Jesus in the stable. May we gaze on the power of love wrapped in swaddling clothes. May we, ourselves, change and become more generous people. Let us together bring the miracle of Christmas to life.

Let us not quench the Spirit that is ablaze within us.

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