Gaudete or Joy Sunday is a favourite Sunday in Advent for me. We light the pink candle and the readings offer hope of great joy. We are given a road map through the wilderness. First in Zephaniah, we are told that we do not need to fear disaster anymore. Instead we are told not to fear but rather we are to sing aloud and shout with great joy. Now God exalts over us with loud singing as on a day of festival.
In the second reading from Philippians, we are told to rejoice in the Lord always. As if we do not hear it or are slow to understand, Paul says it again: rejoice! Writing from prison, Paul gives us some advice. He tells us not to worry about anything, but in everything through prayer with thanksgiving we should let our requests be made known to God. He counsels us to let our gentleness be known to everyone. In so doing, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
In Luke 3, today’s Gospel, we have the crowds asking John the Baptist, what they should be doing. John’s response is simple: share with anyone who is in need, do what is right, and be satisfied. John himself does not cling to the fame that is beginning to build for him. He announces that he is not the Messiah but that there is one more powerful coming and he is not fit to untie his sandals.
Joy is in gentleness, in prayer, in thanksgiving and in peace. Joy takes root in sharing, in doing what is right and in being satisfied. Joy blossoms by knowing who the Messiah is and who we are in relationship to that Divine Master. Joy can be ours, if we but open our eyes to the fact that Jesus came for us, lived among us, and loves us still.
We are blessed beyond measure. God is in our midst. It does not matter what prison may hold us at this time. Like Paul, we can rejoice despite our circumstances. This special Sunday reminds us that Joy can take deep route in our hearts if we open ourselves with gratitude to all that awaits us, whatever we may be going through.
Can you recall a time when worry ousted joy from your life?
What joy can you celebrate today?
show us where joy is blossoming in our lives
despite the hardships and trials that wear us down.
Thank you for the blessings that are richly given
and meant to be shared with all
Help us to be satisfied and do what is right in all encounters.
Raise my voice to say not just once but often: Rejoice!