December 15, 2019 – Third Sunday of Advent

Today is Gaudete Sunday—a day we are called to rejoice! The reason for our joy is found in Jesus’ answer to John’s disciples, go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised again”. All were in fulfillment to Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading. The time of Christ as St. Augustine says is that of fulfillment.

Dearest sisters and brothers, our time is the time of God’s fulfillment and that message of hope is important for each and every one of us.  Today, the problems and uncertainties around us are overwhelming.  If we are not careful, we may define our lives from them, spending our whole life whining and entertaining negative feelings and thoughts.  That is what God is asking us never to do.

Remember, the time of Advent is a time of joyful waiting—a time that brings us nearer to the Lord in spite of whatever we are going through.  Today, each of us need to ask himself or herself:  How is my life centered?  Is it filled with joy or sadness?

Sure, there are many reasons to be sad and yet St. James in the second reading reminds us that we should not be so.  He urges us to persevere in the face of trials.  Dearest ones, I want to tell you that the most successful secret to a joyful life is patience.  It is the virtue that helps us to put our complete trust in God who is always there, looking beyond our present ordeals.  John the Baptist showed us an example today.

While suffering in prison, he never allowed his prison ordeal to cloud his joy of welcoming the Messiah.  That was why he sent his disciples to go and inquire whether Jesus is the Messiah.  In our own individual situations, let us look beyond our present trials to God.  As someone rightly said, “when you get to the end of the rope, tie a knot in it and hang on” for God is near.

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