Gaudete Sunday has arrived; time to rejoice! More beautiful words from Isaiah greet us in the first reading, reminding us that the dry land will be glad. We are promised that even the desert will rejoice and blossom abundantly. I have visions of Christmas cacti with orange and fuchsia blooms scattered throughout the desert, brightening the hardest of hearts. The eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf will be opened. The lame shall leap and those without a voice will sing. Those who belong to the Lord will return with song and joy. Sorrow and sadness will fade away. What joy these images invoke! How can we not celebrate and rejoice?
Psalm 146 extols a God who has an eye on the oppressed and lifts up those who are bowed down. God protects the orphan and the widow for all generations. With the scandal of the “interpreter” at Madiba’s funeral, I smiled to myself, thinking even in death, Madiba worked for equality and freedom. God had this, bringing the plight of Deaf people around the world to the fore as the top news story for a few days. God never forgets those who struggle and suffer. As we hear in the second reading, the Judge is standing at the door. Strengthen your hearts; God has it.
John the Baptist is unsure in the Gospel if Jesus is the one and the Christ suggests that John listen to the stories that are spreading like wildfire. The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear…the world is turned upside down as blessings pour forth. What do we expect to see when Christ is at work? Are we surprised by the miracles that unfold? Do we see God in the mysteries of daily life? Do we recognize that we are like the Baptist, having a part to play in preparing the way?
I have so much to rejoice in this Holy Season. I light this candle with great joy and know that hope and peace have paved the way to this place. Love is coming and I cannot wait! Come, Lord Jesus!