Sunday, December 16, 2018

Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudéte Sunday

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 61:6-14
Mass: Zp 3:14-18a; Resp Ps (Is 12); Ph 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-18

Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice!

John the Baptist calls the people to repentance (see Jn 3:3). The evidence of repentance, he says, is to 'Produce good fruits' (Jn 3:8). Furthermore, 'every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire' (Jn 3:9). The energy in the air is palpable. The people begin questioning John, 'What then should we do?' Since our Abbess proclaimed today's Gospel last night at Vigils, I have been asking, 'What then should I do?' In what concrete and practical ways do I need to better prepare my mind and heart for the coming of the Lord? How can I provide better Christian witness, bear good fruits, and grow in love of God and my sisters? John the Baptist cries, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths'! The Holy Father suggests a few ways to prepare: 'Joy, prayer and gratitude are three ways that prepare us to experience Christmas in an authentic way' (Twitter, December 16, 2018). Living and true God, help us to be more joyful, prayerful, and grateful on this Sunday of rejoicing. One idea is to reflect and write down one concrete way you will be more joyful, prayerful, and grateful (one way for each 😊) this week. Think of your wife, husband, children, co-workers, your boss, neighbors, loved ones and not so loved ones, the sisters or brothers with whom you live. The words of St Paul may help: Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Ph 4:5-17).

(Magnificat, Suggested Prayer of the Faithful, December 16, 2018)

Here is our message, 'Rejoice! … for the Lord is near'. The prerequisite is that our minds be 'undarkened' so the Lord will bless His land once again'.
(Alfred Delp)

O now, thou strong in merits, come,
Break up our hearts' resisting stone:
Smooth out our rugged roads, make plain
Our twisting and uncertain courses.
So that the coming of the compassionate
Creator may find our souls' ways free.
(Thomas Merton)

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