My Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
…giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day.
As we continue our journey through Advent, I share with you a reflection on the 3rd Sunday of Advent written by Terry Modica found on the Catholic Digital Resources website.
The Third Sunday of Advent focuses our attention on the spirit of joyfulness, because this is an essential mark of true faith. All the readings are full of joy and the thrill of happy expectation.
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptizer preaches good news to the people, and they are filled with joyful anticipation for whatever God is about to do.
Do you know that joy is a ministry? It’s an important way to share the faith. We all have a calling to do this ministry wherever there is misery and hopelessness.
Let’s look at how John fulfilled this ministry of joy. We might think he was anything but joyful in his robe of scratchy camel hair and his fiery sermons about repenting from sin. But look closer. His ministry prepared people’s hearts to receive Jesus.
Having faith means trusting God which means resting in hope which produces joy. When you or someone you know is lacking joy, it’s because Jesus has not yet been invited fully into the situation that’s been stealing the joy. It might be too early in the grieving process, which is healthy and normal, or it might be a lack of faith, which needs nurturing.
The ability to experience the joy of faith comes from turning to the love of God and receiving His comfort in the midst of hardships. It also arises from getting to know the joyful side of Jesus and the joyful purposes behind all of His teachings.
Jesus preached going the extra mile, loving our enemies, and doing good to those who cause us hardships, none of which is fun. What we need to discover and then share with others is that, holy living, although not always fun, is what unites us to the joyful love of Jesus and the joyful purposes of everything he preached.
Remember, even going to the cross produces joyful results.
The good news is: Jesus didn’t just tell us how to be holy, He gave us the power to be holy: He gave us His Holy Spirit. And when others see the Holy Spirit’s activity in us, if they know that Jesus is the reason for our joy, they are evangelized by our faith.
Thank You for the joy of the Lord, which is our strength and stay. Help us always to rejoice in Your joy and to remain in Your love so our joy might be full and so that Your joy may well up in our hearts and overspill to others – to the glory of Your name. Amen.