Third Sunday of Advent
“Rejoice always.” That phrase has always been, for me, the line which describes and defines the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Very challenging – but not possible without God’s grace and the assurance that “the Lord is near.” But this year, I am challenged even more by the statement, “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).
Give thanks – for everything! Always and everywhere! When I read this, I first think of situations of great trial or suffering, times when being thankful is not easy, but how grace is given and one can be drawn closer to God – become more aware of God’s presence – how one’s faith in God’s love can be strengthened. But for most of us, our “circumstances” may be pretty humdrum. We can easily become comfortable, complacent. Then it is that we are called to look anew at our “circumstances” – to realized that “the Lord is near,” to open our eyes and hearts in thanks for all that surrounds us, for we recognize that God is with us, “Emmanuel.”
As Pope Francis reminds us, by our baptism, we are all called to be missionaries. We need to look and see where we are called to bring the Good News, the Joy of the Gospel, in our “circumstances.” Like the servant in Isaiah, we are sent – to the poor, the broken-hearted, – the marginalized with the message, “The Lord is near.” We are to share the joy we have been given by our awareness that, in every “circumstance” – God is with us and His love for us endures forever.
Sr. Patricia Cataldi, CPS