Our Advent Reconciliation Service is this Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm in the church, safety precautions in place. After the communal service, three priests will be available for individual confession. Please take advantage of this opportunity to receive this sacrament before Christmas.
Today we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, also called “gaudete” or “rejoice” Sunday. Our reading from Paul begins, “rejoice always.” In our first reading from Isaiah, we hear, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord.” The responsorial psalm in the Lectionary is the Magnificat, in which Mary proclaims, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” We are being told to be joyful because our Savior came to bring us salvation.
In the first words of our selection from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we are given three attitudes that are basic for Christian living, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks. Let’s look at them in reverse order:
In all circumstances give thanks: our faith tells us that God loves us, God wants the best for us, and God is in control. All that we are and have comes from God. What great reasons to give thanks always, no matter what is happening!
Pray without ceasing: the beautiful thing about prayer is that it reminds us that we are dependent on God, that we can’t do it alone. God doesn’t need us to tell Him what to do, but we need prayer to remind us that God is there. It helps us build a strong relationship.
Rejoice always: when we have that strong relationship, when we realize that God is in control and wants the best for us, what can we do but rejoice!
When I was a child, I thought we were rejoicing because we were at the halfway point in our preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Now that I am an old man, I rejoice because I have experienced how God is in control and that, eventually, all works out for the best, according to His plan.
As we celebrate this third Sunday of Advent, I invite you to reflect on the great things God has done and is doing for you, so that you can proclaim with Mary, My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
God bless and stay safe.