Third Sunday in Advent-December 17th, 2017

Jan 11, 2018

      

     When there is any special solemnity or feast day coming up on the Church’s calendar, the Church wisely sets aside time in which to prepare for it.  The scriptures speak of it, the color of the vestments change, the liturgy changes, even the season outside changes as if to help us experience a change that we should be undergoing ourselves as we spiritually prepare for the solemnity or feast day soon approaching.

     With this already being now the third Sunday of Advent, you notice that I am wearing a rose colored vestment.  One explanation for this change in the color of the vestments is Church’s way of saying like our readings from Isaiah the prophet and St. Paul that we should always rejoice in the Lord – even through our penances and sufferings.  Our thoughts should always gravitate toward what?

     The scriptures told us to pray without ceasing, in all circumstances – good and seemingly bad – we are to rejoice and give thanks – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus – refrain from every kind of evil.  Good advice for anyone, but especially for us Christians because we have so much to be grateful for.  And how do many of us show our gratitude to God?  By reaching out to others, like just recently our St. Vincent DePaul and many local churches in our community gave away Thanksgiving baskets to families struggling, We here at St. Barnabas are generous in buying gifts for others at Christmastime as we do every year; but, we also continue week in and out to help those in need in our community helping to pay the bills we all have in order to live.

     Our gratitude also helps us to love our enemies, and helps us to value eternal things over worldly concerns.

     When the Jewish priests and Levites went to St. John the Baptist and asked him, who he was – what did he say?  “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”      Why did St John have to cry out as he did?  We can say because so many in his day as in ours aren’t listening, aren’t praying, aren’t focused on what really matters.

     This is the reason we prepare for the special events in our Church’s calendar year:  To help us focus on the spiritual truths of our beautiful Catholic Faith;  thereby, receiving the most grace enabling us to fully celebrate the special solemnity or feasts like Christmas, and be able to say to God with all honesty- I’m ready to celebrate because I prepared Lord for your coming the best way I could. I went to the mission and also went to confession, and am really trying to amend my life.

     Thank You, Lord, for another opportunity to rejoice in focusing on You and others instead of me!! For isn’t it so true?  The only happy and joyful people in the world are those who love God and others before themselves.  For to love only ourselves may satisfy for the moment; but to love God and others lasts forever! 

     God, grant us this great grace of joy and lasting happiness!