Rejoice! The Lord is near.

Can we be joyful amid the challenges and difficulties of our time? In a world of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the daunting climatic change, secularism, and its materialistic competitive attitude, joy seems elusive. But, as we draw near to Christmas, the readings for this third Sunday of Advent, also known in Latin as “Gaudete Sunday” (Sunday of Joy), are full of rejoicing. To signify the joy of the Lord’s closeness, we light a pink Advent candle to focus our attention on the spirit of joy.

Although this year the many challenges are seemingly threatening away our joy, the true reason for our joy is not in material things and situations, nor in the creation itself, but the Lord our Saviour. The Lord clothes us with his salvation and justice as Isaiah says in the first reading. The Psalm is the words of rejoicing said by Mary when visiting her cousin Elizabeth. With her joyful prayer, she celebrated God’s saving promise to us all.

Paul encourages us to rejoice and be grateful to our faithful God whose will is for us to rejoice in all circumstances. Even as the situations we continue to live in are getting more challenging and threatening, the will of God for us is to rejoice and be grateful for his salvation.

The Gospel introduces John as the messenger for the light. Himself wasn’t the light, but someone to testify the presence of that light. John reveals a deep truth that Christ stands in our midst and is truly Emmanuel; God with us, even when we are ignorant of his presence.

Every Christian disciple must take delight in becoming a witness and giving testimony of faith in Jesus Christ in our troubled world of today. By reflecting the love of God to others we shall make them rejoice and share in the Lord’s salvation. And by inviting them and welcoming them in our faith communities without judging them, they will truly experience Jesus as their real cause of joy.

Christian Action This Week: Become the light to others in their pain and struggles and keep them in your prayers daily. Light up the third pink Advent candle of joy.

Joy and peace.