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12/13/15 Third Sunday of Advent - Fr. James

On this Third Sunday of Advent we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath. Pink is the color of Joy. We use this joyous color of pink to express our communal joy in the coming of Jesus, as our Savior. The theme of today’s readings is the command "Rejoice!"

Prophet Zephaniah says, "Shout for joy, and Sing joyfully, O Israel.” And he explains the reasons for rejoicing: "The Lord has removed the judgment against you" (in other words, God has forgiven them); and "the King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst" (that is to say, God is with them); The Lord is with us that is the reason we should rejoice. The worries about war and terrorism, and the erosion of moral values, should not prevent us from trusting that God will love us and will grant us the peace.

Living with a strong faith in God brings us the true happiness we cannot find elsewhere. Therefore Paul wrote in the second reading, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” He says we will find our happiness, “in the Lord.”

By caring others and sharing our resources we find our joy in the Lord. That is what John the Baptist reminded the people when asked him what we should do. St. John does not ask us to give everything we have but only to share our resources and time, like offering a meal or visit a sick neighbor and practice active love and compassion. The jubilee year also reminds us to be compassionate and merciful as the heavenly Father is merciful to us.

As we near Christ's coming, we too ask like people asked to John the Baptist: "What are we to do?". What we are to do is to "shout for joy" and "sing joyfully" We are to "rejoice in the Lord always! We are not to rejoice because of our circumstances, which may even be tragic. We should not be rejoicing so much in our selves or our pleasures. We rejoice in His salvation and in our acceptance of salvation through repentance and faith. 


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