Dec 13th, Third Sunday of Advent Year C

The first reading today says: ” God will renew you by his love”. So Paul says rejoice in the Lord. Our faith is not about long faces but joy then. Its what we celebrate this Sunday, this Gaudete or joyful Sunday. We light the pink candle to express the tiding of great joy the angels proclaimed. Lets confess ways we fail to spread joy and peace to those around us..

A great joy of life’s to be close to someone we love. I watched on TV recently teenage girls at a Westlife launch. One of them said tearfully of a boy in the band, “o my God I can’t believe I was actually close to him”, he actually spoke to me”. That a pop star could evoke such adoration seemed out of proportion. Then I realized that we all need someone larger than life to fill our hearts and lives, to look up to and love. Our readings see the most worthy subject of that love as Christ, the Savior with us.
That’s why this Gaudete Sunday we light a pink candle. “The lord your God is in your midst, he exults with joy over you” Zephaniah says. We rejoice that God’s close, comes intimately to us in Christ. As Paul says in the second reading, “be happy..the Lord is near”. He’s with us in each Sunday Eucharist and he comes specially in love to us at Christmas. I watched that funny film, The Pope Must Die, recently. The main character, a simple guitar-playing priest who is made Pope, says “why are people so kill-joy about the faith”. He’s right. God doesn’t want us to pull long faces. Our faith is joy, the inner happiness that life’s about. The American declaration has as one of its aims the free pursuit of happiness. Christ in the manger enabled that, as Isaiah says, broke the yoke that has weighed us down since the fall. He gave us the real way to happiness, believing loving hearts free to do what’s right. He gave us fullness of life. “I came that you may have life and have it to the full” he says.
Sadly, we often seek that joy vainly in worldly crutches like drink or drugs. But our greatest joy is in the Lord. We quickly grow tired of pleasures, but never of his grace. For in the end only God fully fulfils our deepest thirst for happiness and gives us the deep values that by which its achieved. That’s why all Christ’s new commands, the beatitudes have no thou shalt nots, he says happy are all when they follow my way. For like that girl at the Westlife signing we dream, idealize, and seek some worthy object of our love. Christ satisfies that inner need fully here below and for eternity.
St.Paul says: “eye has not seen nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what good things God has prepared for those who love him”. As believers we enjoy many of those good things even while on earth. As Isaiah says to the people: “shout for joy, the Lord is in your midst”. He is here with us always and comes in glory each Christmas. Then bright lights, presents, and partying expresses the great joy of his presence. That why I love Christmas, the lights, giving of presents, reunion of families and so on. For we should exult beyond measure, enjoy ourselves without restraint. As Paul says: “I want you to be happy because the lord’s near”. Our joy as his people, like that girl close to her idol, should overflow at Christmas in blazing lights, feasting, peace on earth, good cheer. We’re part of the glory of the Lord. This should drive out all our worry, all the world throws at us, even during recession. God guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. And He is grace, peace, and deepest happiness for this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as his joyful followers gathered here in His presence this glorious season lets profess of faith with great rejoicing..

Prayers of the Faithful

“Let not your hearts be troubled for the Lord is near”. As Christians, natural optimists and joyful believers no matter what, we pray for all that we truly need this Christmas…

For our Holy Father and all our church leaders, that Christmas joy in the lord may light up their leadership…

For civil leaders this Christmas and new year that they may bring joy to the people, especially the old, the weak and the vulnerable.

“Rejoice in the lord always, again I say rejoice”, in the spirit of the psalm lets pray silently for our personal intentions…

Committed in this season to giving to all around us as part of our joy in the lord, we pray that our generosity may extend especially to the poor and the needy…

For sick friends and relatives at this time that though the miracles of modern science and our loving care for them, they may know the love and healing presence of the lord this Christmas..

For our dead especially those who have died recently….that they may now enjoy ultimate joy and happiness in the presence of the lord and their loved ones forever…

And we ask all these things through Christ the joy and salvation of the world and our near and loving lord forever and ever amen…

The film “Love Story” features love between a rich Harvard boy and a poor Italian immigrant. She develops leukemia and dies, leaving the boy distraught. When his rich father comes to say “I’m sorry”, the boy repeats the girl’s mantra: “love means never having to say you’re sorry”. For the father’s god was wealth and social status. He gave his son no love like that he got from the girl. The message is that to love and be loved for ourselves is real riches. Christ is that love in our lives, let our Christian hearts reflect his warmth and love to our world today..Hail Mary