HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A. (2)







HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.

THEME: REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!

BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara.

 

(ISAIAH 35:1-6A,10; JAMES 5:7-10; MATTHEW 11:2-11)

Today is called “Gaudete Sunday” because today’s mass begins with the introit “Gaudete in Domino semper” (Rejoice in the Lord always) today we light the rose candle of the advent wreath and the priest may wear rose vestments, to express our communal joy in the coming of Jesus our savior. There are people who have little or no joy in their lives, we pray for such people today as we light the candle of joy, that God restores their joy.

Expecting something can be very tiring. With all the difficulties in the world, we can easily wonder if the coming of Jesus has had much impact. The church understands our weariness, so she offers us encouragement by naming the third Sunday of Advent “Rejoice Sunday”. Paul who was writing this to one of his favorite communities was not seating in a beach having fun; he was in prison – indeed in danger of death. That is why St. James in his letter today seeks to encourage us who are weary while in expectation when he tells us. “Be patient brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord and make your hearts firm, because the coming of our Lord is at Hand”.

READ ALSO: HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.

So, what Joy? The joy we are talking about is not feeling good because of worldly things. One can lack material things and is still filled with joy. One may be encountering certain deprivation of life yet filled with joy. One can be physically sick but filled with joy. One can be physically challenged but filled with joy and even more joyful than those physically whole. What then is this joy? The Greek word used in the original text proffers an answer. The word is “chaire” which is the second person imperative verb form of “chairo” meaning “to delight or be glad” in God or by God’s grace”, to be conscious and glad for His grace. This sort of joy is more fully understood as serene, confident, and stable: a joy not rooted merely in the passing moods of our fallen human state.

My brothers and sisters, notice that Paul tells us to rejoice as if it is a command. Even when things are not going on well, we do have some control over whether we want to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves or whether we choose to take a more positive view of things. This joy is what the prophet Nehemiah talks about when he says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). It is simply a joy from above. This joy is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God and surrendering to him, knowing Jesus, trusting, and abiding in him- doing his will. This implies that the individual is spiritually alive and sound.

Thus, we can demonstrate who we are waiting for during advent by the actions we do in Jesus’ name, most particularly in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In the most personal way, we can be contagious in our rejoicing this day in our advent expectation.
Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

 

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