The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday because the focus of the liturgy is joy. JOY means Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. The Word of God invites us to rejoice for the kingdom of God is breaking into our human lives. It is a joyful expectation and anticipation for the coming of the Lord.  Jesus is the embodiment of God’s kingdom. In His birth, God became man so that man might become God. And we are created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus comes to restore that original image which was lost because of sin. St. Paul invites the community of Thessalonica to rejoice always and pray without ceasing for this is the will of God (1 Thessalonians 15:16-17). In Jesus, God fulfills all His rewards and promises. That is why, John the Baptist invites his listeners to prepare the way for the Lord. He is not the light but he points to the light. Like John, we are also called to prepare our lives for Jesus and point Jesus, the true light, to others. The real meaning of Advent and Christmas is not the pretty decorations, parties, window shopping, gifts but the radical call to give our lives to God who alone can make us beautiful inside and outside. Gaudete is to rejoice because God takes the initiative to restore all things to Him. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We are called to make the choices, values and vision of Jesus our own. In a world where there is so
much suffering, greediness, violence and hatred, the birth of Jesus heralds a new day where darkness is defeated. We are called to learn from him, to be humble but fearless, to be compassionate but with moral principles, to be understanding but take a stand, to take up our cross and follow him. When we do that then we become agents of joy, peace and love this Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all!