Peace and Joy
This third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means ‘rejoice’ and certainly that is the mood of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In the first reading Zephaniah tells the people to “Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! …The Lord is in your midst.”
As we prepare for Christmas these two readings call us to an inner peace and joy that contrasts with the busyness of the material preparation for the feast. If we take time to reflect on the coming celebration of God entering our world in the flesh of Jesus we will realize that how we live our lives matters. And how should we prepare? By living our daily lives to the best of our ability. In the gospel, John the Baptist tells the crowds that they should continue to live their lives as they are but with awareness of others as well as themselves.
And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Advent is a time for you and for me to realize the great gift of God’s presence in our lives and the world around us. It’s a time for gratitude and a desire to grow closer to such a loving and generous God who is truly one with us in all we are and do.
In what ways can you quiet down interiorly to experience joy and peace?
In your daily actions how can you become more aware of how you treat others?