Fr. Vincent Hawkswell
Not until the end of the world will we be able to see the whole of God’s loving plan and know fully how He has guided his creation to the perfection for which he created it, even through evil and sin, says the Catechism. In the meantime, through faith, we must “embrace,” even if we cannot understand, “the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power.” (2020)
Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr
Joy is the theme that runs across the readings of this Sunday. That’s why on the third Sunday of Advent, called the Sunday of Joy, we are invited to rejoice. How can I rejoice, you may wonder, with all my struggles? Pertinent question indeed! But we may need to answer another question: does joy exclude struggles? Let’s explore together. (2017)
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
Negative! Negative! Negative! “The kids are doing this. The seniors are doing that. This is what is going on in our world, and it is wrong. This is why our country is going to hell in a handbag. In addition, Catholics are joining in, or not doing enough about it.” Negative! Negative! Negative! “You really told them, Father. That was a great sermon. It’s about time someone said that about those people…” This is not what the Church should be. (2020)
Today’s Gospel from John shares several similarities to the Gospel from Mark last Sunday. Both highlight John the Baptist as the herald for the Messiah. Advent is a great time to reflect on people who, like John, shed light on what is important and what enables us to draw nearer to God… At this halfway point in Advent, we are called to be Christian witnesses like John the Baptist, heed prophetic voices and rejoice in God’s saving power and love. (2020)
Fr. George Smiga
BUILDING ON THE WORD
John the Baptist comes to us in today’s gospel and he does not ask us to let go of our goals or what we think is important. But he does remind us that sometimes we can take a step forward by taking a step back. There are times when we can become more by choosing to be less. There are opportunities where we can find happiness by becoming a bit smaller. (2017)
Fr. Austin Fleming
A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
“Happy holidays! Happy Holidays! / It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! / It’s the hap-happiest time of the year!” Well, that’s what the songs say but for many, the reality may be different.
- If you tear off the bright ribbons and wrappings of Christmas,
you might uncover some sadness underneath…
- If you look closely behind all the quick and easy holiday smiles,
you might find a few tears, tracing a trail down worried faces…
- As you listen to Christmas music,
you might hear hearts echoing the pain of loneliness and loss… (2017)
Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ
SUNDAY WEB SITE
It is rather easy to objectify and externalize God’s voice in the world. The poor, the broken-hearted, the blind, the captives were “back then and out there.” But Jesus insisted that Isaiah’s words were not merely for previous generations. They were for the present. They are for our present.
- We too are captive: prisoners of barred rooms and closed roads, unable to see our way out of failure, our betrayals and egoisms, our fears that paralyze, our attachments that hold us frozen.
- So too is this church captive, sinful and poor, broken and held in thrall by its own idols and obsessions. Let us count the ways.
- And so also our nations are caught in nationalisms, our tribes trapped in tradition that crushes human life and spirit, our economic and political classes locked in vested interest. (1997)
Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
BIG C CATHOLICS
Happiness is, I said, one of the greatest needs we have in life. The quest for happiness is probably the most powerful drive we have within us. And so we should ask the question: When have we been happy?… Let me suggest to you here today, in the middle of Advent, that perhaps it would be good for us to examine the question: To whom and to what is my life dedicated? For that is where I will find honor and respect. That is where I will find happiness. (2017)
A CATHOLIC MOMENT
The readings for Mass today are filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not be contained entirely within ourselves. It must be shared. When we have good news, we run home to tell our loved ones, our friends or our co-workers, because we want to share our happiness with them too. When we get engaged, or a new baby is born, we are bursting at the seams with love and happiness and it just can’t be kept within us. We feel like we need to share the joy with everyone we know. (2014)
Fr. Thomas Hoisington
The heart of St. John the Baptist’s message in this Sunday’s Gospel Reading is that we are responsible for preparing a path into our hearts for the Holy Spirit to rush. We have still a week and a half to examine seriously our consciences and to approach God in the beautiful Sacrament of Penance. Once we allow God to clear away the debris of sin, and once we devote ourselves to making an examination of conscience a more regular part of our lives, we can begin to sense the workings of the Spirit. (2020)
Life Issue Posts
Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.
We may be rich or poor, powerful or insignificant, well educated or unlettered, healthy or sickly, etc. Regardless, as Christians, we can “box” ourselves in the same way as John did: “to testify to the light” — not only in words but also in deeds. And this we can be and do specially if we carry out Jesus’ commandment of love in all that we do.
Courage, honesty, integrity, humility. How often have we heard these words lately? We talk a lot about these very real human virtues but when it comes to living them out we may hedge a little, take the middle road, sit down rather than stand up for what we know to be right. John the Baptist calls on all of us to define ourselves, to prepare the way for the Lord in our own lives, to repent and return to the path of virtue.
Christian joy is not based on things that are passing. It is being secure in God. Christian joy is based on the conviction that God is around and ultimately in charge.
St. Francis of Assisi was short on material things but he was rich in joy. He has discovered true wealth. Happiness is to welcome God. It is to allow Jesus to fill in what is lacking in our life. It is to acknowledge Him as Savior.
This morning we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. All three readings speak about rejoicing over what God has done for us. It is the Lord Jesus who came and freed us from the shackles of our sinfulness and gave us the freedom to live as children of God.
When the secular media report stories of persecuted and martyred Christians in other countries we are horrified but we can take heart that Christ can inflame our faith if we whole heartedly carry the light of Christ to our spouses, children, relatives and strangers and if when necessary as martyrs. Jesus, we should remember, was martyred for us.
Unless we see our own condition in another light, rather than in the light of our own minds, we remain blind to our real condition. We are like those slaves, but those whom the grace of God begins to enlighten are like Frederick Douglass. Perhaps we can say that Christ did not come for those who live in “stupid contentment”, but for the truly poor in spirit, those who know they are enslaved, prisoners, in other words, those who recognize their utter need for God.