GAUDETE SUNDAY = Rejoice Sunday! Is the third Sunday of Advent, this day expresses the joy of anticipation at the approach of the birth of our Lord. We are invited to rejoice because the Lord is near.
St Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians 5: 16, says, “Rejoice always in the Lord.” But how do we find joy in the Lord always when we are hurt from being old, from being sickly, from being unemployed or living at the margins? Finding joy or finding that inner joy demands re-direction of our lifestyle, principles and aspirations.
In the Gospel, people asked John what they must do to reform their lives and be saved. To the crowds composed of simple peasants, John preached no extraordinary penances and recommends none of the pious practices.
Instead, he calls for a simple sharing, a movement away from selfishness and self – centeredness to caring and concern for others especially the needy and less fortunate. He directed those who wish to reform to give whatever they have above their own personal needs to those who have less or nothing at all. Since sharing is something, everyone can do, John suggests the human requirement for salvation is well within the grasp of all.
In summary, the question raised “What must we do” have two kinds of answers in the reading: – BEHAVIOUR and ATTITUDE.
Behavior: What must we do? John says, be kind to the needy. Do what your job requires without abusing the system. Be honest and don’t be greedy.
The 2nd reading tells us “Your kindness should be known to all and make your requests known to God.”
Attitude: – We can get depressed at this time of Covid 19 and omicron. We are under a lot of pressure as Christmas approaches. Zephaniah in the first reading tells us to “Rejoice” for God has wiped our guilt away and given us a fresh page. A fresh start is always a reason to rejoice. Take a moment and let it sink. Together we are the formula for the rest of Advent. Let us do what we are supposed to do, let our kindness be seen by all and pray for trust in God.