Rejoice in the Lord

Dec. 17, 2023

This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means joy, and the readings and prayers for this day focus on the joy we experience because of the coming of Jesus.
   
Joy is one of the marks of someone who has a relationship with God. Joy is a deep, inner quality that exists even in times of sorrow and struggle. I have seen people of great faith demonstrate that inner joy even in the midst of terrible tragedy, such as the unexpected death of a loved one. Their joy comes from knowing that they can “do all things through Him that loves me.” They may not be experiencing great happiness in the moment, but there is an inner peace and joy.

This spiritual joy does not just happen by accident. It requires us to have a deep and lasting relationship with Christ. It requires regular prayer, taking time to open ourselves to Christ and His love, and knowing the Good News of His victory over sin and death. St. Paul tells us that, in spite of the difficulties and struggles of life, we are more than conquerors through Christ.
   
Joy is also one of the most attractive qualities that a person can have. If people see that our faith and our relationship with God fills us with joy, we will draw others to Christ.  One of the saints wrote that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. (It has been pointed out that you attract even more flies with manure, but that is a topic for a different time.)
   
Let us seek joy, not only for ourselves, but for others, so that we can help those who are hurting to know that God is still with them.
--Fr. Mike Comer

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