Theme: Rejoice and Blossom

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!” These are the beautiful words of the Entrance Antiphon of today taken from Phil 4:4 which introduce us to the very theme of today’s Liturgy known as “Gaudete Sunday” which literally means “Joyful Sunday.” I wish you this joy, which only God can give, in its full measure. May it accompany you in all your endeavours and flourish in your household; and through you may it diffuse and disseminate to all around you through Christ our Lord; Amen.

Being joyful is God’s wish for all His children. In fact, all He did in the past, all He is doing and all He will ever do for us in the future are events that spring forth within us streams of joy. A stream filled with joy that has its source from the inexhaustible Fountain of Joy. The reality and immanence of this joy in our midst is the message of the Prophet Isaiah in the First Reading of today (Isaih 34:1-6, 10) “the wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.” The words ‘wilderness, dry land and desert’ represent the lifelessness and unhappiness of a life devoid of joy. This type of life is unproductive and a waste. The word of God made it clear “rejoice and blossom.” To rejoice is the state of happiness and cheerfulness which the presence of God instills in us. To blossom is to flourish and thrive; to glow like a sun flower activated by the rising of the sun. A heart that is not joyful cannot blossom; a soul that lacks this joy is disconnected from God; an environment devoid of joy cannot blossom; a community which has no joy in it will surely be moribund filled with different shapes and sizes of mortuary faces.

To rejoice is a state which one can achieve only by accepting what God is doing in our midst. This is very explicit in the Gospel Reading (Matthew 11:2-11). From the Fountain of Joy himself, “go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offence at me.” To blossom is a state of blessedness. This explains the experience of those who opened wide the doors of their hearts to let in the inflow of the stream of joy that flows from this inexhaustible Fountain of Joy.

How open is your heart to this inflow of joy from God? How wide is the stream of joy in you? What is the extent of its coverage? It is impossible to bottle joy and this is why the joy from the Fountain of Joy must surely diffuse to us and the stream of joy within us must surely soften the hard soils of those around us. Remember always; “rejoice and blossom!”
May God widen the stream of joy within you and may you blossom by that experience of God’s presence in you and your household; Amen. Happy Sunday;

-Fr Cyril Unachukwu

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