The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday: a Latin verb meaning “rejoice.” We rejoice because our salvation is near, the Anointed One, the Messiah will soon come.
The point is: we have so much to be thankful for, including family, faith and friends. This season is a time to count our blessings.
|St. Joseph/Child Jesus|
In the Word of God, the author of the Book of Zephaniah sings a hymn of freedom from tyranny: shout for joy, be glad. The Word may be asking us whether we realize that God is in our midst, especially in tough times.
And in the Gospel according to Luke, John the Baptizer preaches repentance. Share with the needy; be fair and honest. John goes on to say: one mightier than I is about to come who will fire us up with the power of the Spirit.
During Advent the Word of God focuses on three biblical personalities: Isaiah, John the Baptizer and the Virgin Mary. All three had a message for us.
John the Baptizer pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God – the sacrificial lamb of course references the Hebrew Passover meal, the Seder service. Jesus through his own death and resurrection re-established our relationship with God.
The Virgin Mary is the living temple of God, the ark of the Hebrew covenant, because she carried within herself the singular presence of God, the Word made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth.
We shouldn't forget a fourth biblical personality. Joseph, who appears ever so briefly in Advent, had a dream in which the angel said: “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”
As I think about Joseph, I realize parents’ first dreams are usually for a safe, healthy child. And then parents may dream their son or daughter will excel. Along the way, the dreams may change. The dreams of parents may quickly subside when they pray their child will recover from a terrible accident, or an addiction.
Sometimes disappointments or tragedy may change our dreams. But the most important things we can dream for our families are these: that they know we love them dearly, that we accept who they are, that we are always ready to forgive them as we pray they forgive us, and that we pray God will grace them with his enduring gifts of faith and hope and love.
Let us pray that God will grace us, so that we can see God’s presence in all things, and have the courage to be a source of affirmation and support, especially with our families.