Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
December 13 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Many people aren't looking forward to Christmas this year.
When a father or mother are troubled and anxious about paying bills or finding work, it's so hard for them to respond with a happy laugh when their child bounces into the room, just bursting with joyful news. Worry can put a real damper on the joy of this season. If we don't have hope in our future, or trust in God's love and care for us, how can we respond with joy to the readings we hear today?
Yet that's the spirit of the Third Sunday of Advent, "Gaudete Sunday" as it's sometimes called, from the Latin word for "Rejoice"! The first hearers of Zephaniah's prophecy must have gone wild with joy as he told them that the Lord has removed His original harsh judgment against them. This ordinarily gloomy prophet now urges them to rejoice and shout for joy, for God is in their midst.
St. Paul speaks in similar terms to the Philippians as he urges them to always rejoice, for the Lord's coming is close at hand. In fact, He is here now - - Emmanuel - - God is with us! In effect, God is telling us, "Stop worrying! I want a joyful heart and unconditional trust in my care for you!"
Isn't it time in our journey toward eternal life that we take to heart those words which we have heard every Advent of our lives? If we really haven't taken this truth to heart, then we cannot really stir up much reason for joy, especially as Christmas draws near.
We are often far more present to the media news reports of murders, rapes, and the horrors of war than we are to the great truth that God lives in the midst of His people, including our family and fellow-workers. Do we want to see God? Then we must look into the eyes of our neighbors. If we don't see love there, then we must give them our loving smile.
This daily exercise of finding God in others is the key to a good preparation for another coming of Jesus into our sad world this Christmas. It's time to stir up our faith that, as it really happened two thousand years ago, it is really happening again in 2009.
If we really believe that God has saved us, then that joy should make us serious about changing our lives. In today's Gospel, soldiers, shopkeepers, politicians and clergy were all among that desert crowd listening to John the Baptist. As he persuaded them that the Messiah was really near, many anxiously shouted out to John, "What must we do?" (That's a good kind of anxiety!)
As we get rid of needless anxiety, may we rejoice with the Church today, and resolve to trust more completely that the mysteries of Christ's birth, our redemption through His death and resurrection, are indeed worth celebrating!
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, December 13, 2009
Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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