⏰Third Sunday in Advent (Year B)

📖Isa 61:1-2a, 10-11; Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54 (R. Isa 61:10b); 1 Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28


Today is traditionally called the “Gaudete Sunday,” a special day in which we are reminded that Christianity brings joy to all things. With less than two weeks to the proper celebration of the Christmas, this reminder is important to keep our minds focused on the real things that matter in this season and the real attitude we ought to embrace.

Both the First Reading and the Gospel announce the presence of the Messiah among the people. In the First Reading, the Israelites who have just came back from exile were downcast at the sight of the destruction that has taken place in their land. So the post-exilic prophet Isaiah came up with the claim that God sent him to usher in a new era for the people. In that new era, different challenges of the people would be taken care of by the anointed one and a new year of God’s favour ushered in too. That would be a great cause for joy (Isa 61:10).

Jesus quotes from that passage of the book of Isaiah at the early stages of his ministry (Luke 4:18-19). With that, he also introduces a new era for the people. Those who encountered him rejoiced at getting solutions to their problems. This joy can only come through an encounter with Jesus. Hence, John the Baptist, in the Gospel, came to bear witness to this and make the people to have faith in Jesus.

Having an encounter with Jesus demands faith in him. It is possible for one to be a regular ‘Church-goer’ without having an encounter with Jesus. But it is not possible for one to be a Christian without having an encounter with him. Are you a Christian or just a church-goer?

An average ‘church-goer’ is like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. They were with Jesus but were not getting the joy that comes from him. Yet, it is in him that their joy lies.

Christianity is a vocation of joy. Hence, St. Paul, in the Second Reading, encourages the people to rejoice always. But he added other responsibilities which could be summarized as doing good and shunning evil. In doing that, we will see that we will be spreading the joy of Christ’ coming to the ends of the earth.

May the joy of the Lord follow you all the days of your life as you make great effort to follow Jesus faithfully by doing good and shunning evil. Amen.

Have a joyous day in the Lord. Peace be with you.

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