By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
The 3rd Sunday of Advent is called “ Rejoice Sunday,” and all 3 readings speak about rejoicing and happiness that the Lord’s birth is near.
The 1st reading of Zephaniah’s prophecy is a song celebrating the restoration of Jerusalem. “Rejoice! The Lord is in your midst.” (Zephaniah 3)
St. Paul says,”Rejoice. Again Rejoice. Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near, dismiss all anxiety.” (Philippians 4)
Dismiss all anxiety? Wouldn’t it be wonderful is we could really dismiss all anxiety.
Yet if we really believe in the presence of God, if we really believe we can trust in God, that whatever issues, problems and uncertainties exist in our life, the Lord will see us through them.
If we truly believe we are held in the palm of His hand, then we can let go of anxiety and distress (at least we can practice letting go), relax and trust in God’s love.
During the first 2 weeks of Advent, despite the merchants urging us to shop and office parties revving up, our challenge has been to create within our hearts and homes the quiet, sacred atmosphere we would create in a home where new life was about to be born.
We have practiced drawing Him into our heart, entrusting to Him all our worries. This also means we let go, do not cling to any righteousness of our own or any kind of defensive stance.
St. Paul continues, “A God is coming to save you. The Lord is near. Present your needs to God, then God’s own peace, beyond your comprehension, will stand guard over your hearts and minds.”
Luke’s gospel gives specifics to practice to gain joy. Give our clothes to the needy, food to the hungry and be honest in your dealings with others.
Light the third candle on the Advent wreath.
Pray the words out loud so you really hear them: “A God is coming to save me!” Say it again and again.
As the Gospel reminds us, let’s share our food and clothes with the poor, be satisfied with our job and life. “No intimidation, no extortion.”(Luke 3)
Believe that God really does LOVE YOU.