3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C
Zephaniah 3:14-18a Philippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:10-18
Theme: Rejoice in the Lord
Today is the 3rd Sunday of advent and it is also known as the Gaudate Sunday, which literally means ‘To Rejoice’. This theme of rejoice, is expressed in the 1st and 2nd readings in our liturgy today. In the advent wreath that we started using since 1st Sunday of advent, we have four candles; three of them are purple in colour and the last one has a rose colour. The candle with the rose colour is what is lighted on this 3rd Sunday of advent known as the Rejoice Sunday. This is simply telling us that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The liturgy is saying that we should celebrate and rejoice.
St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians that we should rejoice always. Our rejoicing should be both in good and bad times, in sickness and in health. Humanly speaking, one could say that it is not realistic; but we must always remember that with God all things are possible. The question would be, do we have the same mind set like Paul and are we willing to make it realizable as individuals and as a group?
The story of a mother and the child may help us understand today’s liturgy better. For instance, when a mother is going for shopping and a child is expected to do the house chores. When the mother leaves and the child is done with the chores; he eagerly looks forward to the mother’s return. This is because his task is done already. When the mother returns, there is usually a pat on the back for the child who has done his task very well. One can also look at the liturgy of today in the same light. We are all encouraged to rejoice today because we have been preparing, carrying out our tasks joyfully and wholeheartedly since the 1st Sunday of advent for the coming of Christ at Christmas; just like the child who did his tasks very well and is expecting the return of the mother from shopping.
In the gospel, John presents to us what we need to do to personalize the joy we are talking about. He presents to us the answer to the question that is raised in the gospel. The question is ‘what are we to do’? John’s answer is: by living godly lives; lives characterized by selflessness, charity, sharing, and humility. By making these virtues our lifestyle, we will develop a strong bond between ourselves and our brothers and sisters; and also with God. This will also overflow to challenge others to embrace a better way of life that is pleasing to God and also worthy of emulation. By so doing, we are already making our way to heaven and also helping our brothers and sisters to make heaven too.
Rejoice in the Lord! Gaudate semper- rejoice in hope! The God that invites us in today’s liturgy desires our joy and salvation. Therefore, we have to strive by ensuring that we do all within our power to personalize this rejoicing by making it our lifestyle. Let us walk the talk by cooperating with the grace of God. When we do this, we will gladly receive Jesus when he comes.
It is our prayer on this 3rd Sunday of advent that God will grant us the graces we need to make this rejoice Sunday admonition our lifestyle. Peace be with you! Amen!