Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gaudete Sunday Reflection

Gaudete Sunday Reflection By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy Based on Readings from: Zephaniah 3:14-18, Philippians’ 4:4-7, Luke 3:10-18, Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice; exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! these words from the book of Zephaniah 3:14-18 and the following from St. Paul, in his letter to the people of Philippi, sends us a very powerful message on how to live our life when he begins with these words; “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…..There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.” These messages of hope are the reason this Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, Meaning a Sunday to Rejoice .and the vestments are ROSE rather than purple. During this season of advent as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the salvation his coming brought to all of the human race we should reflect on what Paul tell us in his letter to the Philippians. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. … Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. …. Now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing, fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Rejoice in the Lord! With so many grumbling about one thing or another these days and with the economy and the world in a state of turmoil and with the daily news services reporting one horrible event after another it might seem difficult to REJOICE.. Just the knowledge that so many children of God around the world are living in poverty, suffering from discrimination, homeless, and being killed because of the greed and power seeking of others, we might wonder how we could ever REJOICE IN THE LORD! It might just be that the cause of all the suffering facing the world today is that so many have put God totally out of their daily lives and replaced Him with the desire for fame, fortune, power and just plain greed. Many claim that they are too busy to give God a portion of their time every day or even on Sunday. They have to work, shop, a game of golf or a sporting event to go to or some other reason rather than take an hour of time devoted to Thanking God and Seeking God’s blessings. If they would just take some time to think they might come to the realization that all good things came from the creator. If only they realize that, just maybe, they might come to the awareness that they need to thank God for what He has provided them and acknowledge God’s presence in their life. People are so busy decorating their houses and purchasing gifts in preparing to celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa that they focus is on the commercial aspects of the holidays and people forget what true meaning of these holidays; REJOICING IN GOD’S GOODNESS AND GIVING THANKS. Without God, none of these holidays would exist. Let’s make sure that we have set aside time in these last two weeks of Advent to thank God for all He has provided us. Let’s plan to attend a religious ceremony as a part of our celebration plans. For those who are Christian, attend church and receive the Eucharist. The Gospel tells us the way to live with these words; “If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!” Christmas is the time we set aside to recognize Christ’s coming here in order to teach us the way to happiness and everlasting peace and open the way for us to achieve eternal salvation. Let us acknowledge that precious gift from God, the Gift of His beloved son and make room in our lives every day to “Rejoice in Him” through prayer and works of charity, compassion and love for ALL God’s children. Let us strive to live our life every day in a manner that is in accordance with the way Christ instructed in this weeks Gospel reading and let us work toward being more considerate, compassionate, understanding, forgiving and caring person to all we encounter in our daily life. rather than just concentrating on our own needs. What a wonderful way to present our gift to Almighty God in thanksgiving for all He has done for us. AMEN

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