Third week of Advent 2019

“I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.” Isaiah 61:10

At the weekend, we shall begin the third week of Advent. On the Third Sunday, the candle on the Advent wreath changes from purple to pink. The third Sunday of Advent is also known as ‘Gaudete Sunday’. The word ‘gaudete’ in Latin means ‘rejoice’. Our focus now shifts towards Mary as she prepares to give birth to Jesus very soon and she is filled with joy as she eagerly awaits the time when she will become His Mother. Mary has also been waiting for the dawning of a new age and time where love, hope, peace and joy will come. God will bring all these wonderful things to the earth when He comes to us as a tiny, helpless baby.

Through the readings at Mass, we too are encouraged to be joyful and rejoice in God. We may search for ways to be happy but the Bible tells us that true and lasting joy and happiness can only be found in God – everything else satisfies us only for a short time and we soon end up looking for other ways to be fulfilled and content. If we give ourselves to God then He will give us joy which never ends – even when times are tough and we may go through difficulties. He promises never to leave us alone. He has come to us and will stay with us for ever.

The readings all point to the joy which Jesus, Our God-With-Us and our salvation comes to us. Salvation is not a thing but a person. Jesus is God’s Salvation in Person and when we receive Him into our lives He brings only light, joy and happiness. Our lives may seem like we are walking in the land of deep shadows and that there is no light or hope anywhere. The good news of the Gospel message is that through the birth of Jesus, He will bring us His light and if we ask Him the light of the Holy Spirit will flood our hearts, souls and minds.

As we continue on our Advent journey, what is the stable and the manger of our hearts beginning to look like? Is it becoming a place where Jesus has room? Are we keeping our hearts clean by the ways we treat others and how we choose to live our lives? Or, is it cluttered up with other things which can overtake our lives and push Christ out? As we come ever closer to Christmas, let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and let us do all we can to keep Christ in Christmas.
Our prayer this week:

God of joy, so often we are hesitant to move out of our comfort zones and are afraid of new things. Fill us with your joy and take away our fears. With confidence in your love, we approach you and we discover for ourselves, Jesus, your Son our Saviour, Bethlehem’s Treasure. Amen

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