A Reflection: Third Sunday Of Advent (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

3rd Advent 2018 pater

A Reflection Of The Heart
A REFLECTION: THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (C)
GAUDETE SUNDAY
16th December 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: Zephaniah 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.
*
The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (ISAIAH 12)

R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy, you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
*

SECOND READING: PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
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.
*
The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (LUKE 4:18)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GOSPEL: Luke 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:

The celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent to me could be likened to an intermission of a play. An intermission in a play is important because it builds anticipation for what’s to come in the acts to follow, the break also gives the audience and the actors a little time to prepare for the next act. Likewise, the celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent serves as a little break in our journey of the season. Basically, our spiritual sojourn during Advent is a call to a repentance, conversion, and renewal. It encourages us to make some sacrifices, self-reflection, examination of conscience, self-denial to prepare ourselves for Christmas as well as in our anticipation of the coming of our Lord and Saviour at the end of time. The Advent message, therefore, is a serious business for us Catholics. We do not take things for granted. We heed to that call. But then in our Liturgy for this Sunday, we see a shift of moods i.e. from a call to repentance and renewal to an invitation to rejoice. Our readings proclaim the message of joy and jubilation. Thus the reason why the liturgical color also changed from purple to rose. We also light the rose-colored candle of the Advent wreath. Rose signifies Joy. The Third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “Rejoice.’ The word came from Philippians 4:4,5 “Gaudete in Domino Semper.” (Rejoice in the Lord always.)
At the heart of the Gospel message is an invitation for us to rejoice. This is the reason why God created us so that He may share with us His joy. Joy is also the reason for our existence. The joy that I am talking about is not something that is equated with just being happy. It is not something that is fleeting, superficial and external. It is something profound, lasting and real. A true follower of Christ seeks not just happiness but joy. Happiness is temporary but joy is permanent since it is founded in the Lord. One can experience joy even in the face of trials, sufferings, and tribulations. So do not be a mere happy person but a joyful person.
Contrary to the impression of some, embracing our Catholic belief should make us people of joy. Our religion is a religion of joy. Something must be wrong if our experience of religion is one of an experience of sadness. In John 15:11 Jesus said “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
Was our Lord Jesus joyful? People are used to having an image of a melancholic Jesus, a suffering Messiah. I am convinced that part of Jesus’ charisma was his being a joyful person. That was what made people of different walks of life being drawn to Jesus that includes the sinners and tax collectors. You won’t enjoy the company of someone who is not pleasant and joyful. So Jesus was a joyful and probably a humorous person. In fact, we even find something humorous in some of the Gospel texts. For example, in describing the Pharisees, Jesus said they are like blind leading a blind. In Matthew 9:13, when asked why he and the disciples didn’t fast, He said”Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course, not!” And in Beatitudes, Jesus shared with us the reasons to be joyful. We call the Beatitudes ” Be happy attitudes.” And lest we forget that the very first miracle Jesus performed here on earth transpired at a wedding at Cana. So Jesus mingled with the people. He enjoyed the company of the people. He laughed with them. He wept with them. It was a human experience. Jesus empathized with us completely and share with us in our joys and in our sadness.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist gives practical ways in which one could find joy. He tells them to be generous, to always do the right thing, not to cheat and to find contentment in life. When things are dark, when our life is beset with problems, do we become bitter and resentful? Today’s liturgy is a challenge and an invitation to “Rejoice always in the Lord.”
To conclude our reflection, let us reflect on the insights of the prophet Habakkuk:
Habakkuk 3:17-19
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

(Story from an unknown source)

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of a town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. “Dad, I’m thinking of something.”

This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

“The rain!;” she began, “is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away.”

After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. “That’s really good, Aspen.”

Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked… “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Aspen didn’t hesitate one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.” I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain.

The real joy is always found in the grace of a faithful, a loving and a forgiving God.

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