Intentional Rejoicing

The prophet Zephaniah exhorts us to “Sing joyfully, be glad and exult” with all of our hearts. He writes in the context of the worst kind of spiritual and political corruption by the very leaders who are supposed to care for the poor and the oppressed of Judah. Isaiah writes in the midst of suffering, as the people experience the devastation of the Babylonian exile.  Paul is writing from prison. But each in their own way tells us to rejoice. Why? Zephaniah says it best: God “… will rejoice over you with gladness…he will sing joyfully because of you.” (Zep 3:17-18).  Because of you. Because of me. Wow! The source, the overflowing fountain of joy pouring into the world. The words of the second reading are the hallmark of Guadete Sunday: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say again: rejoice.A call for a universal chorus of joy. Continue reading

The Theology of History

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. Yesterday’s post completed the commentary on the coming gospel and noted the coming Messiah “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16). The Sunday gospel emphasizes John the Baptist but also points forward to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is one of many passages that are taken together to consider what has become known as the “Theology of History”. St. Bonaventure wrote about it in the 13th century and it was the topic of Pope Benedict’s doctoral dissertation. Continue reading

Spirit and Fire

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. In the previous post, in the face of the coming wrath (Luke 3:7), the people have cried out “What should we do?” (v.10) John answers that each person, where they are in life and the work they have, is to be compassionate and perform their job faithfully, especially in the way they treat others. How we treat others is a litmus test for how we are responding to God. As Jesus says later, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Continue reading

What should we do?

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. The opening verse of the gospel is from the people who have just heard John the Baptist proclaim the coming wrath of God (Luke 3:7) and they shout out, “What should we do?” What is clear from John is that judgment on the basis of one’s fruit/deeds is at hand: “Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees” (v.9). Continue reading

Evidence and Heritage

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. The gospel for the coming Sunday again returns to John the Baptist in Judean wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance. John is filling the role that was the king’s duty: call people back to Covenant with God. He preaches repentance, turning away from sin and turning towards God, and symbolically washes them clean in the waters of the Jordan. Continue reading

Gaudete, Zephaniah and Joy

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year C of the lectionary cycle. It is also known as Guadete Sunday. While the theme of Advent is a focus on the coming of Jesus in three ways: his first, his present, and his final Advent, the readings for Gaudete Sunday deal with rejoicing in the Lord – Christian joy – as well as the mission of John the Baptist and his connection with Advent. The theologian Henri Nouwen described the difference between joy and happiness. While happiness is dependent on external conditions, joy is “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.” Continue reading

The Promise coming true

This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Advent, known as Guadete Sunday – Rejoice Sunday. Divine joy is the very nature of God – creative; like an overflowing fountain – a fountain fullness. A joy that wants to be shared in wider and wider circles. A joy that asks us to join in the universal shout for joy. The words of the introit of the Mass are the hallmark of Guadette Sunday: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say again: rejoice.”  The refrain of the Psalm proclaim: “My soul rejoices in the Lord.” The second reading (1 Thes 5:16-24) begins, “Rejoice always.

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Where is the joy?

This weekend Deacon Bill Garret is preaching at all the Masses on behalf of the local Tampa Cristo Rey School. This is a reposting of a homily from Dec 2013.

It is Gaudete Sunday. The name comes from wording in Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! While there is evident joy in the first readings and the Psalm, and a call for patience in the second reading, the gospel is not one that I would immediately connect with joy.  It seems to me this is a Sunday whose very name asks us, “What gives you joy?  What is the source of joy in your life?”  A good question. Continue reading

Where is the Joy?

counting joy

It is Gaudete Sunday. The name comes from wording in Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! While there is evident joy in the first readings and the Psalm, and a call for patience in the second reading, the gospel is not one that I would immediately connect with joy.  It seems to me this is a Sunday whose very name asks us, “What gives you joy?  What is the source of joy in your life?”  A good question. Continue reading