National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

First Reading Zephaniah 3:14 – 18
Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12
Second Reading: Philippians 4: 4 – 7
Gospel: Luke 3: 10 -18
The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for “rejoice.”
Today we light the rose –colored candle on the Advent wreath, the priest wears rose
vestments, and the whole Church invites us to celebrate.
Of course, we should celebrate; we’re more than halfway to Christmas! But in today’s
reading, the prophet Zephaniah tells us that God is rejoicing as well. Let’s consider how:
The Lord rejoices because the time of waiting is over. Just as God’s people longed for the
Messiah, think about how much Jesus longed for the time to come for him to be born. How
happy he must be that his desire to forge an unbreakable covenant with us was fulfilled when
he came to earth and redeemed humanity.
God’s word invites us to rejoice in this season. We know well that Jesus is the reason for the
season’s joy. We are well aware of the fact that a Christian is one, who is always joyful
because of the fact that the Son of God has come to this word to redeem us from evil. Jesus
is the joy give by God to us. He is the source of our joy. Therefore, when he left this world
he said, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be yours, and that your joy may
be complete.
But in order to enter into a genuine joyful life, today’s Word of God tells us that we should
behave as grateful and humble receivers before God. This means receiving God in our midst
with all his gifts and promises, and recognizing and appreciating his position in our lives and
acknowledging with humility our true identity before him. When John the Baptizer was
asked about his identity, especially at the time when people started considering him as the
Messiah, he denied but pointed out that the true Messiah is the Lamb of God and the genuine
giver of Baptism of Fire. He loved to say that he was the Best Man standing at the side of the
Bridegroom Jesus sharing the joy of the wedding at a distance.
Our God rejoices always in giving . He has given us thousands of promises about our welfare
and future destiny. He has send his only Son to us as our way, light, truth, love, joy, peace
and life; he has bestowed his forgiveness and his warm welcome as we return to Him. Our

Christian joy becomes complete when we fully become aware of God’s presence in our midst
and of his mighty power with which he can wipe away our tears and take away the darkness
out of our life. Even when we walk in the valley of darkness sometimes, we fear no evil
because he continues shepherding us. All the writers of the findings in the Scriptures,
prophets, apostles, and disciples did not write them while they were in high spirit of
pleasures, entertainments an glory. But they wrote them when they were in bad shape; while
their lives were in crisis and while most of the Jews were drifted from Yahweh. Apostle Paul
wrote ‘we all should rejoice always’ while he was in prison, being rejected and persecuted by
Romans and Jews. What made them feel joyful and write to others ‘Rejoice’? It was nothing
but their smiling an grateful reception of God’s deeds and promises in their midst, with all
humility and openness.
John the Baptizer advises all to share in justice, love and sincerity. While we receive Jesus as
a gift from God, we get the genuine joy. But if that is to be complete in this world, we have
to be also smiling givers, sharing with others in justice what we have received. If we want
our joy to be complete we have to give Jesus –within-us; our selfless self. When we give
what we possess as our own to others in justice, we can experience the true joy of Jesus. Let
us make sure this year to enjoy true and complete joy rather than, a faked one by first being
ready to receive from God with openness an humility all that He gives us and then let us
share with gratitude, love and faith the same gifts of God, above all, Jesus Himself to others.
The Lord rejoices at being in our midst. He has not only become man and walked the earth
among us, but he dwells in us through his Holy Spirit. This is personal – he exults to be near
you today, to be part of your life. And you can rejoice because he rejoices.
God bless.