YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: THE JOY OF THE LORD
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR C – GAUDETE SUNDAY
A soul that is devoid of joy is certainly devoid of Christ for Christ is the source and fountain of joy and it is fitting that as we prepare for His coming in glory and for the commemoration of His birth amongst us in human form over 2000 years ago, that our hearts should be filled with joy. Inspired by this, the Psalmist invokes us to “sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” May the joy of the Lord diffuse afresh into us and our families and into the Holy Church of God and through our hearts filled with this joy that knows no end, diffuse to the utmost bounds of the earth; Amen.
The Third Sunday of Advent is known as the Gaudete Sunday, a title taken from the very first word of the Latin version of the Invitatory Antiphon for today’s Mass “Gaudete in Domino semper – Rejoice in the Lord always.” Most visible in the liturgical setting of this unique Sunday in the Liturgical Calendar is the rare liturgical colour rose that is worn by the priest and with which also the Altar is dressed. “Rose is a lighter version of violet, because today the penitential violet is mixed with the white of the approaching festival.” This white that is mixed with the usual violet to give us the colour rose is a perceptible sign of the joy that must bubble in our hearts in a happy expectation of “He Who came and Who is to come.”
The readings of today are concentrated with this theme of joy and the exhortation to be joyful. In the First Reading (Zephaniah 3:14-18), the prophet convokes us to “Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice; exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! … The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.” Nothing could be a greater reason to be joyful than the presence of God in our midst; a concrete proof of His assurance that He is with us – Emmanuel. John the Baptist, who first and foremost while still in the womb, leapt for joy in recognisance of the eternal presence of God amongst us in the unborn Holy Child Jesus, knows that He is the true fount and source of our joy! He knows also the necessity and the indispensability of our preparation to receive Jesus Christ for himself was prepared from time immemorial to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ and to be the one to point Him out to us; “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In the Gospel Reading (Luke 3:10-18), preparing His people to meet Christ and subsequently pointing Him out to all of us John the Baptist exclaimed, “I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Man who John points out to us is the Person of the season! He is the reason of the joy we have in us, the joy that we must share with others. He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lord. Saint Paul, haven experienced the power of His presence and the joy inherent in that unique encounter wrote to the Christian Community in Philippians in the Second Reading (Philippians 4:4-7), “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.”
Joy is a central part of blessedness and as a people walking towards that unique blessedness to which the Lord invites each of us, it is imperative to be joyful. The closeness of God to us is the reason for this joy for we know and understand what it means to have God very near to us, “for what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (Deut 4:7). This joy can never be bottled! It is very contagious! The palpable sign of the presence of joy in us is our ability to inspire joy in others; especially those who seem to have no reason to rejoice. As we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be containers and sharers of joy! We contain this joy when our hope is alive and active! A hope that is alive and active is a hope that prepares, a hope that partakes in the celebrations of the sacraments, especially in this Season, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is such hope that inflames our hearts with joy and leads us to export this joy to our brothers and sisters.
As we gather around the Table of the Eucharist in joyful expectation of the Feasts ahead, may God renew within us the joy of our salvation, not just at Christmas but every day of our lives and ultimately at the Parousia; Amen. Happy Sunday;
FOR A SIMILAR HOMILY, CLICK HERE>>>>>