December 16, 2012
The question asked in today's Gospel
What shall we do?
What shall I do?
We know that He will come at the end of time, at the moment of our death, but also everyday. Advent has called us to focus on seeing Him everyday.
I hope that during the past few weeks of Advent you have had some small experience of the presence of Christ; that He did come and continues to come.
Even if you did not experience His presence, it is important to not give up waiting and watching for the Lord.
This Sunday is also called Gaudete Sunday. The word means rejoice.
We can rejoice because we know that the Lord will come again and again and again with this love and his mercy and forgiveness.
Also, the third candle of the Advent Wreath, usually pink, is lit.
The readings give us great hope, no matter where we find ourselves today. Listen carefully as they are proclaimed at Mass on Sunday. God always wants to use His Word to speak to each of us individually as well as a community.
This was a period in which God's chosen people had turned to the pagan gods of the people around them.
Zephaniah had chastised the people for turning to pagan gods.
It is so easy, in our world today, to turn to pagan gods. Such things as money, as power, as fame, etc. can all become pagan idols for us.
Certainly drugs, alcohol, smoking, TV, and almost anything we abuse can become a pagan god. We use them to take the pain and struggle away for our lives, and we refuse to carry the Cross which we received at our Baptism.
Zephaniah assured the people, that in spite of their unfaithfulness, God would not abandon them. We hear the words, "shout for joy, sing joyfully, be glad and exault."
Hope is given to the people of the Old Testament, and hope is given to each of us, even in those moments when we turned to pagan gods, when we have refused to carry our cross.
"What should we do?"
Perhaps that is the question we each need to reflect on as we think about what do I need to do; what do we need to pray to change in our own lives and thus be ready for the coming of the Lord every single day.
"What should we do?"
The second reading, a letter to the Philippians, gives us further insight to that question. This letter was written to the Philippians who were suffering rejections and persecutions. They are told to...
"Rejoice in the Lord always; I shall say it again, rejoice."
There is a story regarding St. Francis of Assisi; it seems that he was always joyful in spite of hunger, in spite of cold, in spite of rejections, persecutions, etc. He was always able to...
When St. Francis would find one of the brothers who were sad, he told that brother that he needed go to confession because he was outside of the grace of God. Francis clearly understood that whatever happens is a part of God's will, and we should always rejoice even in those moments of struggle and difficulties.
This Third Sunday of Advent or Gaudete Sunday can be for us a call to look at our attitude, especially in those moments of struggles and difficulties. Are we truly able in our hearts to ...
"rejoice always in the Lord?"
And if the answer is no, not always; then we know exactly what we need to pray for.
Help me to trust you, Lord in all things,
even in the struggles and difficulties.
Help me not to not turn to pagan gods or idols when I struggle and suffer...
Help me to...